Wasserman Schultz stepping aside after convention - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wasserman Schultz stepping aside after convention

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(AP) -

LATEST: Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been ousted as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee on the eve of the party's convention, following a chairmanship marked by controversy that was pushed to bring by revelations from leaked internal emails.

"Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention," Wasserman Schultz said in a lengthy statement Sunday announcing her resignation. "I will open and close the Convention and I will address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans."

"We have planned a great and unified Convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had," she added.

Wasserman Schultz had became toxic to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who accused her of rigging the Democratic presidential nominating process in favor of Clinton. But many Democrats had privately lost confidence in her leadership as well.

Emails posted online by Wikileaks and apparently stolen by hackers working for the Russian government seemed to show a plot by Democratic officials to damage Sanders.

One email showed the party's finance chairman suggesting they use what they assumed to be Sanders' atheism against him in Kentucky and West Virginia, religious states where it might not play well.

Others showed Wasserman Schultz criticizing Sanders for not being a member of the party and saying he would never be president.

Rep. Marcia Fudge has been selected to serve chair of the Democratic National Convention, which kicks off Monday.

DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile will serve as Interim Chair through the election, DNC spokesperson Luis Miranda said on Twitter.

Wasserman Schultz had effectively lost control of the DNC already after Hillary Clinton's campaign inserted operative Brandon Davis to run it on a day-to-day basis.

In a statement, Clinton praised Wasserman Schultz's leadership, highlighting the Florida congresswoman's role in her campaign without mentioning the controversy about Sanders.

"I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year's historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week's events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership," she said. "There's simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie--which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign's 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states."

President Barack Obama said in a statement that Wasserman Schutz "has had my back" throughout his presidency.

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On the eve of the Democratic convention, party officials are holding discussions about whether Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

That's according to a person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The Sunday afternoon discussions come one day before Democrats open their convention in Philadelphia to nominate Hillary Clinton as the party's presidential candidate.

The discussions were prompted in part by the publication last week of some 19,000 hacked emails, some of which suggested the DNC was favoring Clinton during the primary season.

The revelations prompted runner-up Bernie Sanders to call for Wasserman Schultz's resignation Sunday.

Sanders was critical of the Florida congresswoman throughout the primary, accusing the party of rigging the process in favor of Clinton.

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