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Alabama Young Democrats Dissolve Jefferson County Chapter

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY— In a teleconference meeting held Wednesday night, the State committee of the Alabama Young Democrats decided in a 14-to-2 vote to dissolve the Jefferson County Young Democrats chapter after the Jefferson County Young Democrats made unauthorized endorsements in the 2016 Democratic Primary elections. The teleconference call was moderated by a representative from the Young Democrats of America.

“We are disappointed in the actions of this chapter’s leadership and the decision to dissolve the chapter was very difficult,” said Beth Clayton, President of the Alabama Young Democrats. “Unfortunately, the chapter failed to meet the terms of the agreement to lift the suspension of their charter, so the state organization determined dissolution was the best course of action to move forward and protect the members of this organization.”

The Alabama Political Reporter was first to report the news of the chapter’s endorsements, and first to uncover a potential pay-to-play system between Le’Darius Hilliard, the chapter president, and candidates eligible for endorsement.  That article lead to a more in-depth report by John Archibald from, uncovering that more than $52,000 had been paid to Emma Tolbert, the chapter treasurer for “consulting” services.

When AL Reporter asked Hilliard about whether or not chapter leaders were paid, he said that no members of the organization had been paid, despite having received funds from two candidates during the same month the candidates were screened for endorsements.

In light of the improper endorsements, the Alabama Young Democrats executive board held a teleconference call with the president of the Jefferson County Young Democrats on Wednesday, January 20.  During that meeting, all parties agreed to suspend the Jefferson County chapter and allow the chapter one week to change the name of their Political Action Committee to distinguish it from the official Jefferson County Young Democrats chapter and to make a public announcement clarifying that a separate Political Action Committee, not the Jefferson County Young Democrats, had made the endorsements.

According to a written statement released by the Alabama Young Democrats, The chapter had not filed to change the name within the deadline and had refused any attempts by the state organization to communicate regarding the status of their suspension, and went as far as to make public statements defending the endorsements during the period of their suspension. Because the chapter’s leadership failed to take steps to remedy the error, the state committee voted to dissolve the chapter.

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“We do not want these isolated events to discourage young people from getting involved in the political process or to detract from the good work of Young Democrats across Alabama,” Clayton said. “The Alabama Young Democrats are still committed to working hard to elect Democrats and advocate for issues that affect young people.”

“There will be a new, official chapter of Young Democrats formed in Jefferson County,” said Beau Bowden, the Chair of the Membership Committee of the Alabama Young Democrats. “We are not looking to punish the members of the dissolved chapter who didn’t have anything to do with these endorsements. We look forward to working with this new group to continue the good work that young Democrats have been doing in Jefferson County.”

The Jefferson County chapter will be required to turn over their assets, and cease and desist from using the name “Young Democrats” so that AYD can re-establish an official affiliate of the Alabama Young Democrats in Jefferson County.

The Alabama Young Democrats are an officially recognized unit of the Young Democrats of America.  For more information, please visit


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