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Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Step Down as DNC Chair After Convention

Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Step Down as DNC Chair After Convention
 Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Getty Images/Kris Connor)

By    |   Sunday, 24 July 2016 04:11 PM

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a lengthy statement Sunday afternoon that she plans to open and close the party's convention this week, and then step down from her spot as party head after the convention ends and Hillary Clinton has been nominated.

The embattled Florida congresswoman was in meetings on the eve of the party's convention, with pressure mounting for her to either resign her post or at least to issue a statement addressing leaked emails that appear to show the party was fighting in favor of Hillary Clinton's nomination.

Now, DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile will serve through the election, committee spokesperson Luis Miranda tweeted Sunday afternoon.

The issue is being pushed in hopes of calming yet another growing scandal involving Clinton and emails before the party's national convention opens on Monday, and Wasserman Schultz's friends and foes alike in the DNC say she should at least write a statement dealing with the emails released through Wikileaks on Friday showing the party favored Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Wasserman Schultz has been insisting in the meeting that she wants the statement to be issued under the name of DNC CEO Amy Dacey.

"We said no," said a veteran party activist in the meetings told CNN. "She needs to own this."

Another party operative told CNN that there is talk that Housing Secretary Julian Castro could be named to replace Wasserman Schultz in presiding over the convention.

Instead, the DNC Rules Committee has selected Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge to permanently chair the convention, and she is to bring each session to order and close.

Democratic leaders had been pushing her to step down immediately, but she was trying to hold on until after the November elections. Meanwhile, the Florida congresswoman is facing a tough primary battle against Tim Canova, a former Sanders adviser.

As of Sunday, Wasserman Schultz still believed the controversy would pass, and "she seems oblivious to the volcano that will erupt if she walked into that [convention] hall," a veteran Democratic operative told CNN. "Forty percent of the people in that hall didn't like her to begin with. She was going to get booed before all this."

Wasserman Schultz's current term in office ends in January 2017.

On Sunday, Sanders told CNN's Jake Tapper that he does not believe she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC, "not only for these awful emails, which revealed the prejudice of the DNC, but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people, and I don't think her leadership style is doing that. ... it is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign. It goes without saying: The function of the DNC is to represent all of the candidates -- to be fair and even-minded."

Further, Sanders said the revelations came to no surprise to him, as the talk that the party was against him had been discussed many months ago.

Even with Wasserman Schultz agreeing to step down, the emails' release could bring tensions between Sanders and Clinton, who only recently have reconciled after a bruising primary season.

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC
Sunday, 24 July 2016 04:11 PM
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