The Alabama Democratic Party is in the midst of an unprecedented time of change. At the urging of U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, the Democratic National Committee is pressing the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee to make substantive changes in how the ADP is governed and in the selection process for the SDEC.
The DNC made a firm request for these changes in February when the committee invalidated the 2018 ADP elections that re-elected Nancy Worley as chair. A deadline was set of May 17 for the SDEC to adopt these reforms and hold new elections. That deadline has come and passed. Now, at the urging of the DNC, the SDEC voted on these reforms to how the SDEC is composed. After delaying for five months, the ADP has emailed the current members of the SDEC the DNC requested changes to the delegate selection process to be voted in an up or down manner.
On Monday, the Alabama Political Reporter obtained a widely circulated email from a prominent SDEC member, who was critical of the ADP’s leadership’s roll-out of the ballots for the rule changes.
“Hopefully, someone at DNC is aware that Alabama SDEC members received an email at 9:40 p.m.,” wrote SDEC member Carl Carter in his letter.Friday with a requirement to review the 76-page delegate selection procedures, with no markup showing the changes, by noon today.”
“Further, this was sent on an insecure Gmail address with ambiguous instructions (seemingly allowing a reply for a vote) but interpreted to me by Josh Robinson at 10 a.m. today, two hours before the deadline, as requiring an image with the vote and a signature,” Carter stated. “Many SDEC members have already voted by replying. Some did not receive the email. Some had it go to spam folders.”
“I believe the state party has reached a level of non-functionality that merits the DNC putting someone in place to supervise completion of the delegate plan, as well as the long-delayed revision of bylaws and the election of new officers as required by DNC,” Carter said. “Ms. Worley has not shown good faith in meeting the requirements, and it is unclear what authority allows her to remain in office. I am acting as an individual but can assure you that I represent the views of many frustrated SDEC members who believe it is time to act.”
Carter has played a very prominent role in democratic campaigns for years. In 2017, he was a part of the Jones for Senate campaign. In 2018, Carter challenged incumbent State Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, but was defeated in the general election.
APR talked with prominent Birmingham area attorney, regular Voice of Alabama Politics contributor and democratic strategist Beth Clayton about what’s going on with the ADP.
“The Alabama Democratic Party, under the leadership of Nancy Worley and Dr. Reed, has clearly become relevant in Alabama politics only insomuch as people are still pointing and laughing at the train wreck,” Clayton said.
On Monday, the ADP website was down for some reason. Some sources claim that the site was taken down by the web hosting service because Worley and the ADP staff did not pay the bill. APR has not been able to confirm the cause for the site being taken down.
“One would think this level of disorganization, chaos and gross incompetence would be impossible by adult humans, yet here we are,” Clayton said. “They have demonstrated they aren’t capable of paying simple bills like website domain fees, conducting routine votes on party matters or providing basic candidate support sufficient to outweigh the hindrance they have become.”
Despite all the criticism, Worley remains undaunted and is running for re-election leading the ADP. She is being challenged by Tabitha Isner and the Rev. Will Boyd. Isner is an ordained Disciples of Christ minister, and Boyd is the pastor of a church in Muscle Shoals.
Clayton is skeptical of Worley and Reed’s ability to right the ship at ADP.
“It’s time they resigned and handed the keys over to anyone willing and able to do the work to lead Alabama Democrats into the 20th Century — and hopefully eventually into the 21st Century.”
APR still doesn’t have a formal date on the next actual SDEC meeting to decide the chair race, but a source tells APR that “anything can happen if we don’t have elections by Aug. 17.”
APR is still working on this developing story.