Baltimore Mayor Replaces Debbie Wasserman Schultz at Convention Podium

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has drawn her own share of controversy in the past year.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-BlakeTom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA

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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has officially gaveled in the first day of the Democratic National Convention, replacing outgoing Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the podium.

The Sun Sentinel reports that Wasserman Schultz asked Rawlings-Blake to replace her, ending speculation about the type of reception the DNC chair would have received from delegates on the floor this afternoon, after leaked emails revealed apparent favoritism toward Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the DNC. Earlier today, Wasserman Schultz was booed during her speech at a Florida delegation breakfast.

But Wasserman Schultz’s replacement has also faced her share of criticism from the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. Rawlings-Blake drew significant criticism after her controversial handling of the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody last April. Rawlings-Blake currently serves as the secretary of the Democratic National Committee.

Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida, announced her resignation from the DNC leadership on Sunday and will officially step down as chair after the convention ends on Thursday.

Today’s change at the podium is one of many signs that Wasserman Schultz will be a party leader in name only during this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio will replace Wasserman Schultz as the official chair of the convention, and Donna Brazile, the DNC’s vice-chair for voter registration and participation, will serve as the interim DNC chair until a permanent replacement is named.

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