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Tabitha Isner announces plan to reverse fortunes of Alabama Democratic Party

Tuesday, Tabitha Isner, Candidate for Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, has released an “open source” plan for saving the Alabama Democratic Party.

Isner says that her plan lays out a roadmap for members of the State Democratic Executive Committee to call a meeting on October 12 in order to vote on new bylaws, and to call a second meeting on November 2 to hold a new election for Party Chair and Vice Chair.

Isner, “Describes the plan I have just publicly released to save the Alabama Democratic Party and ensure the voices of Alabama Democrats are represented at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.”

Isner released her plan along with a proposed budget, timeline, draft ballots, etc.

All of that information is posted on her website.

Isner said that her “Plan is detailed, providing meeting dates, times, and agendas for four teams. The teams are to be fully open to the public, comprised of whichever Democrats show up for the meeting plus a facilitator who is tasked with keeping the meeting on task. Many details of the plan are already clearly defined while some decisions (such as finalizing locations and contracting with vendors) still need to be made.”

“I’m not the head of the party. I’m not even on the SDEC,” Isner said. “So until now I have avoided taking leadership around approving new bylaws and calling for a new election. I don’t have the authority; only the SDEC does. But the SDEC needs a leader to get this done. And time is running out.”

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Isner is a pastor’s wife and the head of a non—profit.

She was a candidate in 2018 for the Second Congressional District seat currently held by Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery). Isner was defeated; but so was every statewide Democratic candidate and every Democratic challenger of a Republican Congressional incumbent. Republicans grew their commanding super majorities in both houses of the Alabama legislature. 2018 was a Republican year in Alabama, even though it was a Democratic year in most of the rest of the country.

Some Democrats blame the state party leadership and the problems of the Alabama Democratic Party has drawn national attention.

Alabama Democrats have been locked in a bitter power struggle for months with the Democratic National Committee, which has overturned the 2018 election for Chair and Vice Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party. The DNC invalidated the chair and vice chair elections in February and ordered new elections be held in April. When that did not happen, the DNC extended the deadline to July. When no new elections were held then, the DNC pulled the credentials of Chairwoman Nancy Worley and Vice Chair Randy Kelley.

“Alabama’s top party leadership are no longer members of the DNC,” DNC Chair Tom Perez explained in a recent letter. “In addition, the RBC voted unanimously to reject their delegate selection plan until a Chair and Vice Chair have been properly elected under bylaws that comply with the DNC’s requirements.”
Perez said that he was deeply concerned by the extensive delays by the ADP, the failure to adopt compliant bylaws, conduct appropriate outreach, and to hold a fair election.

“We are in the midst of a critically important election cycle,” Perez explained. “Time is of the essence. We have real opportunities to win critical races in Alabama. The party can and must play an important role in these efforts. It is impossible to do so without leadership in place.”

The DNC is threatening to not to accept Alabama’s delegation to next year’s presidential nominating convention. If that happens then Alabama Democrats will have no say in who their party nominates for President in 2020.

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Isner and 2018 Lt. Governor candidate both declared their candidacies for Chair after the DNC invalidated Worley’s 2018 victory over Montgomery attorney and Democratic strategist Peck Fox. Worley has never set a date for the new election and a meeting of the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC).

After declaring her candidacy for Party Chair in April 2019, Isner has been campaigning among Democrats across the state.

Isner has been endorsed by former gubernatorial candidates James Fields and Sue Bell Cobb, civil rights activist Doris Crenshaw, and her 2018 Second Congressional District primary opponent Audri Scott Williams.

Isner said that the Alabama Democratic Party has fallen into further disarray with the Party Leadership showing an unwillingness to move the process forward.

The Alabama Democratic Party has won only one statewide elected office since 2008, Doug Jones’ upset win over Chief Justice Roy Moore in a special election for U.S. Senate in 2017.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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