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Rumors of a Coup Against DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Circulate on Capitol Hill

Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC-BY-SA

Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC-BY-SA

On Tuesday evening, Politico reported that a coup attempt was in the works against Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz. By Wednesday, her prospects weren’t looking a great deal brighter.

Worse, some high-ranking peers in her party weren’t exactly rushing to her rescue, according to CNN and Politico, who canvassed several key Democrats in and around Congress.

First, this from CNN:

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of Hillary Clinton’s leading supporters on Capitol Hill, told CNN Wednesday that Wasserman Schultz is seen by supporters of Bernie Sanders as “part of the problem.” She said the Florida congresswoman is playing a “starring role” ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July, which is unusual for someone in her position.

“I think this will all get worked out over time,” she said. “The role of the DNC chair is always a supportive role, not a starring role, and I think that, because of what has occurred, it’s hard for her to avoid a starring role.”

Two senior members of the Senate Democratic leadership team — Chuck Schumer of New York and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan — refused to say Wednesday whether they have full confidence in Wasserman Schultz.

Meanwhile, three Democrats with ties to the party’s power centers — President Barack Obama, Clinton and Sanders — made clear that few are rooting for Wasserman Schultz’s survival at the DNC.

“If this is the one thing that provides unity, they would take that trade,” said one senior Democratic strategist, who has spoken to the White House. “Nobody is rushing to keep her.”

Another Democratic adviser close to Clinton said “there is an exhaustion that comes with dealing with her.”

Politico also did some asking around:

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, expected to ascend to the Democratic leader role next year, declined to comment and said he won’t be “mixing it up” on the contentious issue. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the highest ranking woman in the Senate, said she’s “focused” on her own job when asked about the Democratic National Committee chairwoman. And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sidestepped the matter.

“That’s not up to me,” he said when asked if Wasserman Schultz should stay on.

Senate Democrats say privately that the polarizing DNC head and Florida congresswoman is just about the worst person to preside over the Democratic convention this summer and heal the party after her caustic remarks lately about Bernie Sanders. But talk of a coup attempt is all anonymous at this point.

“I think it’s real,” argued one Democratic senator, envisioning Wasserman Schultz being shouted down on national TV while presiding over the convention. “I think it’s in her best interest and Hillary Clinton’s best interest” to leave the job.

However, Wasserman Schultz still has vocal allies on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Tim Kaine, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Vice President Joe Biden, who is supporting Wasserman Schultz’s bid for re-election as Florida’s Aug. 30 primary draws closer.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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