DNC chair Wasserman Schultz set to resign after Democratic convention

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has agreed to resign as party chair following the release of Democratic National Committee emails from Wikileaks that suggest the DNC was not impartial during the primary. 

Richard Drew/AP/file
Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla, is shown here in this March 2016 photo. Following the release of DNC emails suggesting a lack of impartiality during the primaries, Wasserman Schultz will not speak at the convention.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated.]

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will resign from her position as chair of the DNC following this week’s convention, the Associated Press has reported.

The development comes after WikiLeaks released emails from the DNC showing bias during the primary against the campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The emails portrayed a DNC that saw the Sanders campaign as a threat, with DNC leaders apparently floating questions about Sanders's religion, as The Christian Science Monitor reported.

In a statement, Wasserman Schultz said the best way to achieve the Democrat’s goals this election is to step aside.

“The best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention,” she wrote. “As Party Chair, this week 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."

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio has been named permanent chair of the convention, according to a DNC source. She will gavel each session to order and will gavel each session closed. DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile will serve as interim chair through the election.

Members of the party's progressive wing have expressed antipathy for Wasserman Schultz throughout the primary. The Sanders campaign had accused her of not being impartial, especially for her role in debate scheduling.  

"She's earned great disrepute among Bernie delegates due to her behavior throughout the campaign," progressive activist Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate who is organizing an independent Bernie Delegates Network, tells the Monitor. "She claimed mendaciously that she was neutral throughout this campaign. We knew that she wasn't neutral, and these emails prove it."

Sanders called for Wasserman Schultz's resignation Sunday morning, saying he was "disappointed" but "not shocked" with the news of the leak. Party leaders also pressured Wasserman Schultz to resign, CNN reports.

Calling for Wasserman Schultz's resignation, Mr. Solomon echoed a complaint of the Sanders campaign, that Wasserman Schultz's decision to limit the number of primary debates and schedule the debates that were held on weekends and nights with low television ratings was meant to benefit Clinton.

The day-to-day operations of the DNC will not be affected, as she is more of a figurehead of the organization, Arthur Lupia, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, told The Christian Science Monitor. Although there will likely be short-term political gains for her resignation, Lupia says there was a case to keep her onboard.

"It would get a day or two of positive news coverage that may help placate some of the angrier Sanders people, but ... she's a really good fundraiser, and although she may leave this position, she is an asset to the party, so they won't want to kick her to the curb," he says.

Sanders delegate Diane Russell, a Representative in Maine's legislature, tells the Monitor that she thinks Wasserman Schultz and the other DNC leadership implicated in the email leak should resign.

"The fact that she’s not presiding over the convention is a huge victory, and clear signal from the Clinton campaign they don't want to be affiliated with it," she says.

Ms. Russell says that Wasserman Schultz's "antics are being taken seriously," along with Saturday's super-delegate compromise between the Clinton and Sanders camps, show that the Clinton campaign is willing to work with progressives.

"This is a good indication from the Clinton campaign that ... they are taking seriously the concerns the progressive community has about the way the DNC operates," she says.

Voters generally do not pay too much attention to the chairs of the party, Richard Benedetto, a former White House correspondent for USA Today and current adjunct professor of journalism at American University, tells the Monitor.

"It's not that big a deal to the average voter. This is a story more interesting to the media and political elite than it is to the average voter," he says. "If this is the biggest glitch in the Democratic convention, they'd be happy."

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