By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, October 18, Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) called on powerful Democratic Party boss Joe Reed and Chairwoman Nancy Worley both to step down as the leaders of the Alabama Democratic Party.
State Representative Ford said in a statement on Facebook, “I appreciate the service of our party’s leaders, but it’s time for Joe Reed and Nancy Worley to step down.”
There is a lot of discussion about Ford being the Democratic Party’s candidate for Governor in the 2018 election. Ford is the most powerful Democratic legislator in the Alabama House of Representatives; but given the Republican super majority, being the most powerful Democrat has a lot of limitations.
Joe Reed heads the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC). The ADC was formerly known as the Black Political Caucus of Alabama. It was founded in 1960 to encourage all voters, but especially other African Americans, to vote for the democratic candidate, who at the time was John F. Kennedy with Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. The ADC is by far the most dominant force in the Democratic Party coalition in Alabama.
Nancy Worley is a former teacher, former Alabama Secretary of State and two-term President of the Alabama Education Association (AEA).
The likable Worley was chosen as Democratic Party Chairwoman after former Chairman Mark Kennedy resigned due to infighting with Reed.
The last two Democrats to win a Governor’s race in Alabama were Don Seigelman, who was elected to one term in 1998 and lost re-election to then Congressman Bob Riley in 2002, and George Wallace in 1982. The last two Democrats to win statewide races in Alabama were Lucy Baxley (Lieutenant Governor) and Sue Bell Cobb (Chief Justice) in 2008. No Democrat has won any statewide race since then.
There is a lot of dissatisfaction in some circles within the Democratic Party with their leadership, and many blame the state party leadership for their recent inability to present a coherent alternative to the Alabama GOP.
Likely Republican contenders for Governor include Chief Justice Roy Moore, Attorney General Luther Strange, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), State Auditor Jim Zeigler, Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan, and Secretary of State John Merrell.
Incumbent Governor Robert Bentley (R) is prevented from running for another term due to term limits.