At the Taproom at Dubsdread Thursday night, a fundraiser for 10th Congressional District candidate Val Demings as well as Seventh Congressional District candidate Stephanie Murphy was held by U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Demings has been the target of criticism from her rivals in the race lately, who say she has been hand-picked and groomed by the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as their candidate, bought and paid. Outside the fundraiser – which media was not allowed into – fellow CD 10 candidate Fatima Rita Fahmy and a troupe of her volunteers paraded with signs.

“Don’t let the DNC decide,” read one sign.

“Local people should decide best candidates,” read another.

There were also a small number of supporters for fellow 10th Congressional District candidate Geraldine Thompson marching with similar signs.

The protest was another symbol of the unrest in the Democratic party this election amplified by the DNC email leaks earlier this summer, in which it was revealed that the DNC had showed a partiality toward Hillary Clinton over rival Bernie Sanders during the primary season.

Fahmy said her purpose in being outside the Taproom on Thursday was “to prevent the DNC from interfering with the local election.”

“This is the same thing that got Debbie Wasserman Schultz fired for the presidential primary,” Fahmy said. “Now, Nancy Pelosi is here interfering in our local primary. This is a total undermining of the will of the voters. I hope people realize their vote is being undermined, democracy is being undermined and their choice is being manipulated.”

A volunteer with Fahmy’s campaign, Patty Duffy, said she was a lifelong Democrat and had never seen such an “unprecedented” amount of money put into a primary candidate.

“They’ve picked [Demings],” she said. “They’re working against their own Democrats to appoint who will do their bidding. She will owe her benefactors. Any progressive candidate, they’ve been stopping.”

Duffy said after the Aug. 30 primary, she plans to leave the Democratic party and join the Green Party.

Fahmy said her campaign stood for a number of progressive values – protecting reproductive health care for all women, comprehensive immigration reform, ending economic disparity and more, she said.

“But none of that matters if the election is rigged,” she said.

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