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Analysis | The Alabama Democratic Party’s troubles are a long way from over

Josh Moon

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The Alabama Democratic Party is still a mess. 

Last Thursday, following a vote by the Democratic National Committee’s credentials committee that stripped ADP chairwoman Nancy Worley and vice-chairman Randy Kelly of their credentials, there was widespread joy among Alabama Democrats. A feeling that finally something was being done about the leadership — or lack thereof — at the top of the party. 

Not so fast. 

In reality, Worley and Kelly are still very much in control of the party, and in those positions, they have the ability to stall, if not outright block, almost all efforts to remove them or rewrite the party’s bylaws in a manner that would limit the power of vice-chairman for minority affairs Joe Reed. 

“The party wasn’t really setup at the national level to tell state parties what to do,” said Richard Roucco, a Birmingham attorney who is representing several State Democratic Executive Committee members who challenged last August’s re-election of Worley and Kelly. “They are very hesitant to do that, but they also recognize that Alabama is a unique circumstance. So they have to act.”

The first real action occurred on Thursday, following a contentious meeting in San Francisco, at which Worley essentially told the DNC’s credentials committee that any vote against her was a vote to disenfranchise black voters in Alabama and that the voters who did so would burn in hell. Not exactly the best way to win friends. 

Prior to that outburst from Worley, most assumed that the committee still wouldn’t strip her of her credentials, despite months of delays and stall tactics meant to avoid bringing the ADP’s bylaws — specifically in the area of minority outreach — into compliance with DNC bylaws. 

The issues with ADP’s bylaws, and the manner in which minority outreach was handled — with Reed essentially handpicking 30-plus at-large members to fill the required minority memberships on the day of leadership elections — led to the invalidating of the elections. That setup, not surprisingly, led to serious allegations of fraud.

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The DNC ordered that Worley and her team draft new bylaws that better reflected the goals of the DNC. That would include an outreach to Hispanics, Asians, LGBTQ and youth voters — to the extent that the membership of those groups among the SDEC would be equal to or greater than the percentage of those individuals in the state of Alabama. 

That action occurred in February, and the DNC gave Worley until March to act. By June, there had still been little significant effort, because making such changes would inevitably limit the power Reed currently has — which allows him to fill the necessary at-large minority spots — and would wind up with Worley voted out. 

That lack of action led to DNC officials sending Worley a lengthy list of suggested changes to the bylaws. She ignored those, as well, and in August, she submitted her own plan. It was soundly rejected by the DNC. 

Along the way, DNC officials found themselves in a mind-boggling ordeal, with Worley and the rest of the ADP leadership avoiding their calls and emails and then pretending in ADP meetings that they never received correspondence that every other SDEC member received. 

But still, the DNC doesn’t like the idea of the national organization telling state parties how to operate, so DNC officials considered themselves offering guidance and help, not intervening to eradicate a cancer. 

All the way up until last Thursday, when six months of stalling and lies, along with a nasty speech, pushed the credentials committee — and later, the full DNC — to punish Worley and Kelly with the only real tools available: pulling credentials. 

But that doesn’t really help ADP. 

At this point, the state party still must approve the bylaws changes mandated by the DNC. That can’t occur unless Worley distributes proposed changes to voting members for approval, allows for a 30-day comment period and then sets an SDEC meeting to vote on the changes. 

So, Worley controls both the changes that will be submitted to the SDEC and whether a meeting is called to vote. 

Unless, that is, SDEC members get together and call their own meeting. If 51 percent agree to meet and vote on a set of proposed changes, that’s allowed under party bylaws. But even if that occurs, Worley would preside as the chairman of any called meeting and could control any items brought for a vote. 

“The (DNC) party system just wasn’t set up to handle a chairperson who refuses to do anything to help the state party succeed,” said an SDEC member who asked not to be named out of fear of retaliation. “It shouldn’t be a surprise that the (DNC) didn’t envision a scenario in which a state party chairman would work against the party.”

But things are not hopeless. A number of SDEC members, DNC officials and interested parties told me on Monday that tremendous pressure is being placed on ADP leaders, including Worley, to do the right things and stop standing in the way of the proper changes being made. Worley has privately agreed to cooperate with most actions, but it’s unclear how far her cooperation will extend, specifically when it comes to the rewrite of the bylaws. 

At a minimum, most can’t imagine new elections being held for two months. Others are less optimistic. 

One thing is absolutely clear: The ADP’s troubles are a long way from over.

 

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Gary Bauer endorses Hightower for Congress

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidate Bill Hightower’s campaign announced Wednesday that he has received the endorsement of national social conservative leader Gary Bauer.

“I am proud to endorse Bill Hightower for Congress,” Bauer said. “Bill is a man of God who is an unapologetic voice for faith, family and freedom. He has worked to defend the unborn both in public and private life for 40 years and there has been no stronger advocate for protecting our religious liberties.”

“Bill Hightower has a proven pro-family, pro-life record that the voters of south Alabama can count on,” Bauer said. “As their congressman, I know Bill Hightower will stand with President Trump to defend our values, protect our constitutional rights, secure the border and put hard-workings America first.”

“Susan and I have followed Gary Bauer since his service to President Reagan, and his later work on the Family Research Council,” Hightower said. “Because of our personal support of James Dobson’s, Focus on the Family, with whom Gary worked, we have for at least 30 years leaned heavily upon his conservative, family-oriented commentary on culture. It is an honor to be endorsed by Gary, because like him, I am a staunch supporter of Israel and deem our religious freedoms as core to who we are as Americans.”

Bauer currently serves as president of American Values, a public policy think tank, and was Washington director of Christians United for Israel Action Fund. Bauer has held several positions in the administration of former President Ronald Reagan including deputy under-secretary of education from 1982 to 1985 and under-secretary of education from 1985 to 1987.

Bauer was then appointed assistant to the president for policy development, a position he held until January 1989. He later served as a senior vice president of Focus on the Family and as president of the Family Research Council.

In 2000, Bauer sought the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush won the nomination and went on to win the 2000 election.

Hightower is running in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District in the July 14 Republican Primary runoff against former State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise.

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Incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne is not running for re-election.

Hightower has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. Hightower has worked for several Fortune 500 companies around the world before moving back to South Alabama in 2002. He has started and run several small businesses in the Mobile area. Hightower is a husband, father and grandfather.

The winner of the Republican nomination will face the winner of the Democratic primary runoff in the Nov. 3 general election. On the Democratic side, James Averhart is running against Kiani Gardner.

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Tallassee mayor endorses Jeff Coleman

Brandon Moseley

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Republican Congressional candidate Jeff Coleman has received the endorsement of Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock. Coleman is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the July 14 Republican primary runoff.

“Alabama needs a strong conservative candidate who will not back down from a challenge, and will represent the voice, people, and values of those who live in Alabama and District 2,” Hammock said. “Jeff Coleman has my full support and endorsement.”

Coleman thanked Hammock for the endorsement.

“Mayor Hammock’s leadership is evident by the respect the community has for him,” Coleman said. “He is a leader not just for Tallassee but for the surrounding area as a whole. It is an honor to have the support and endorsement of Mayor Hammock and many more in the Tallassee community!”

Tallassee is on the Tallapoosa River and is in both Elmore and Tallapoosa Counties. The city has a population of 4,581 in 2018, which is down from its peak in 1999 of 5,858.

Coleman now has the endorsements of the mayors of Luverne, Dothan, Millbrook, Geneva, and Florala.

Coleman is a native of Dothan. He is the fifth generation of his family to head the family business, Coleman Worldwide Moving, based in Dothan. He recently stepped down as President and CEO in order to run for Congress. Coleman is a former Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama. Coleman is one of the wealthiest people in Alabama.

Coleman has been endorsed by BCA and the Alabama Farmers Federation, as well as the Alabama Realtors Association, Alabama Home Builders Association, Alabama Retail Association, Alabama Trucking Association, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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Coleman is a graduate from Northview High School where he was a member of the 1981 Football team that won the Alabama High School Football State Championship. He has a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama and a Master’s in Business Administration from Troy University in Dothan. He is an Eagle Scout, a 2011 Graduate of Leadership Alabama and a 2015 Graduate of the Air War College National Security Forum. Coleman served two terms as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama.

Coleman is running in the Republican primary runoff against former State Rep. Barry Moore on July 14. The eventual Republican nominee for the open 2nd Congressional District seat will face Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall in the November general election.

 

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Alabama Republican Assembly endorses Barry Moore

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidates Barry Moore’s campaign on Wednesday said the Alabama Republican Assembly has endorsed him for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District.

Jennifer Montrose is the President of the Alabama Republican Assembly.

“We must have elected leaders who are committed to governing honestly and ethically and believe Barry Moore can best help our state and nation move forward in the November election,” Montrose said. “We hope you will agree with us and vote for this outstanding individual who we believe is committed to Life, Liberty and Family.”

Moore thanked the group in a statement.

“I want to thank the Alabama Republican Assembly for the vote of confidence this endorsement represents,” Moore said. “It’s an honor to be recognized in this way by this fine group of Conservatives.”

“I’ve always been committed to the conservative values I share with the ARA, and I’ll continue to fight for our Constitution, our rights, and our freedoms when I’m in Congress,” Moore continued. “I’ll do this not only to justify the faith groups like the ARA have in me but because it’s what I believe is right. The ARA knows I have a proven conservative voting record and I will always protect our 2nd amendment, take a pro-life stance, support term limits, and stand with President Trump.”

The Alabama Republican Assembly calls itself “the Republican Wing of the Republican Party.”

Moore continues to receive endorsements from prominent Alabama politicians and groups from across the state in his bid to go to the United States Congress.

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Moore faces Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. Moore served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 until 2018 and has been endorsed by both current and former members who served with him there.

Rep. Mike Holmes (R-Wetumpka) said, “I have served in the Alabama House with Rep. Barry Moore; and found him to be one of our Top Five Conservatives every year. I served with him at the RNC Convention in 2016 when Rep. Moore was one of the first to endorse Trump. He is still strongly aligned with Trump. I enthusiastically endorse Barry Moore for Congressional District 2!.”

Rep. Charlotte Meadows (R-Montgomery) said, “When Rep. Barry Moore served in the State House he chaired the Military and Veterans Affairs committee. He was instrumental in bringing the F-35 to Montgomery and he well understands the needs of our Veterans and the importance of our military bases to Alabama. He will always work to support both. I am proud to support Barry Moore for our next Congressman.”

Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur)said, “Barry Moore is a man of integrity and honor. He will represent Alabama well.”

Former Rep. Barry Mask (R-Alexander City) said, “Barry Moore is a fighting conservative who has been through the fire. As a veteran, he stands with our country and will fight to preserve it. He was a Trump man early on and has earned our trust.”

“It’s humbling to have so many leading Alabama Republicans endorse me in this race,” Moore said. “These are the people I served within the Alabama House, and they know me and what I stand for. I appreciate their endorsements, and I will do everything I can to honor their trust by continuing to represent the people of our District and our conservative values in Congress. I thank everyone who’s endorsed me, and those who have supported me in this race. I look forward to serving the people of Alabama and District 2 as their next Congressman.”

Moore has been endorsed by the Eagle Forum, Conservative Christians of Alabama, the American Workers Coalition, the Club for Growth, and the House Freedom Fund. He is a former member of the Alabama Legislature, a small businessman, a veteran, a husband, and a father of four from Enterprise.

Moore and his wife Heather own a waste disposal company. Moore is a small businessman, a veteran, a husband, and a father of four from Enterprise. He has a degree from Auburn University.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorses Jerry Carl

Brandon Moseley

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl in the race for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.

The U.S. Chamber said in a statement that it is proud to endorse Carl, in an effort to promote free enterprise and job-creating policies for businesses across all regions and sectors.

“In difficult times, we are reminded of the importance of having leaders that understand the genius of the American system of government and free enterprise and who are willing to tackle the hard problems that confront our nation,” said U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “As our country faces many challenges and is collectively working to not just reopen our economy, but return to growth and expanded opportunities for all Americans, we need leaders like Jerry Carl. He has a proven track record of leading responsibly and standing up for good policies. The U.S. Chamber is proud to endorse Jerry and looks forward to partnering with him in the future.”

“THANK YOU, U.S. Chamber for the endorsement!” Carl wrote on social media. “I’m proud to be endorsed by the U.S. Chamber! I look forward to working with President Trump and the Chamber to get our economy roaring again!”

The United States Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business advocacy organization and represents more than three million business interests. The Chamber has been leading the business community for 108 years.

The Chamber’s Alabama affiliate, the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) endorsed Carl last month.

BCA had endorsed State Rep. Chris Pringle in the March 3 Republican primary; but Pringle finished third and did not advance to the runoff.

Commissioner Carl faces former State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The eventual Republican nominee will face the winner of the Democratic party runoff between Kiani Gardner and James Averhart.

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Incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) is not seeking re-election. Byrne has endorsed Carl.

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