S.C. Democrats kick off convention festivities, live from Philadelphia

Preparations are made at the Wells Fargo Center the day before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 24, 2016. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

PHILADELPHIA — 4:30 p.m.: The Democratic National Convention officially began on Monday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. Baltimore Mayor and DNC Secretary Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who delivered remarks to the South Carolina delegation during breakfast Monday morning, gaveled in the proceedings. That job is typically reserved the DNC Chairwoman, but Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is keeping a low profile in light of the DNC email scandal and her impending resignation from the post at the end of the week. Wasserman Schultz was also booed out of her own delegation breakfast earlier in the day, and it’s not likely she’ll address the S.C. delegation breakfast on Tuesday morning as originally scheduled.

At 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gathered his pledged delegates together to say they should unite behind party’s presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton. The request drew mixed reviews from delegates inside the South Carolina contingent and elsewhere. Lingering discontent spilled over during the invocation on the convention stage, when the pastor was drowned out by jeers and boo’s when she suggested the Democrats had gathered to nominate Clinton.

Sanders is speaking later Monday night.

11:15 a.m.: Members of the S.C. delegation scattered from the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Philadelphia following their breakfast meeting, which ended with remarks from U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., an early Bernie Sanders supporter who now says the party must unite to defeat Donald Trump.

Before the conclusion of the program, S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison implored delegates to be on their best behavior during the Democratic National Convention, beseeching them to be respectful of view points with which they disagreed and not mouth off to the media to vent frustration.

“We saw what happened last week,” Harrison said of the moments of discord at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Last Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, got booed off the convention stage when his prime time speech made no mention of Trump. As Harrison spoke on Monday morning, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was being shouted off the stage by her own delegation breakfast. The U.S. Congresswoman from Florida will resign at the end of the week after emails were leaked showing collusion inside the DNC to undercut Bernie Sanders in his efforts to wrest the Democratic nomination from establishment favorite Hillary Clinton.

Sanders, a U.S. Senator from Vermont, is meeting with his pledged delegates at 12:30 p.m. today to discuss next steps for his campaign. Many of South Carolina’s 14 Sanders delegates are expected to attend.

The convention formally gets underway at 4 p.m.

9:20 a.m.: South Carolina Democrats kicked off their first breakfast meeting of the Democratic National Convention Monday morning alongside the Louisiana Democrats.

Delegates, alternates, guests and elected officials heard from U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who also happens to be DNC Secretary.

It was a more uplifting start to the week’s festivities after an unsettling Sunday which culminated in the resignation of embattled DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over leaked emails suggesting a DNC conspiracy to undercut Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

Booker and Rawlings-Blake painted a bleak picture of an America under Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, eliciting rounds of approving applause.

S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison called for unity between Sanders and Clinton supporters, reminding delegates of how they were able to overcome the “bruised feelings” between supporters of Clinton and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

“Do we want Trump? A racist, a bigot, a misogynist?” Harrison asked.

The answer among Democrats in the room was “no,” but efforts were still afoot to support Sanders on the convention floor. A petition was being circulated to put the Vermont U.S. Senator’s name in nomination.

Check back at www.postandcourier.com throughout the day for updates.