U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said “this is a major step in the right direction for the Alabama Democratic Party” following a meeting of State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) members Saturday in Montgomery.
“This is a major step in the right direction for the Alabama Democratic Party,” Sen. Jones said. “This show of support from Democrats across Alabama to pass the DNC-approved bylaws is a real success and shows that Alabama Democrats are ready to get to work and create a more transparent, diverse and inclusive Alabama Democratic Party and comply with the DNC guidelines.”
The group, which claims to be the majority of the SDEC, passed recent bylaws changes demanded of the Alabama Democratic Party by the Democratic Executive Committee (DNC). The bylaws changes are intended to increase the quotas for homosexual Democrats, young Democrats, Asians, and Latinos. There were already rules on the SDEC guaranteeing Black representation.
Alabama Democratic Chairwoman Nancy Worley has called for a meeting of the SDEC this coming Saturday, October 12, and did not call the meeting on Oct. 5. Some supporters of Worley have suggested that the Oct. 5 was not valid, perhaps setting the stage for a court battle.
In the summer of 2018 Jones backed an effort by Montgomery attorney and Democratic strategist Peck Fox to defeat Worley. Worley prevailed in the meeting; but Jones and Fox supporters took the matter of how that election was conducted to the DNC.
In February the DNC, at Jones’ urging, ruled that there were irregularities in how the election was handled and ruled that Worley and Vice Chair Randy Kelly were elected improperly and ordered that the ADP make bylaws changes and hold new elections by April 17. That deadline came and passed and no action was taken by Worley and the Alabama Democratic Party leadership. A new deadline was set by the DNC in July also passed by with no action by the ADP.
Jones has been outspoken in his criticism of Worley and her leadership. Worley has said that Jones is just angry because he had previously wanted to be ADP Chair and was rejected and that he should concentrate his efforts on his own Senate race.
In August, Worley told the DNC that her critics there “can all go to Hell.” The DNC responded by revoking her and Kelly’s credentials.
Former Congressional candidate Tabitha Isner and former Lt. Gov. candidate Dr. Will Boyd have announced their candidacies for ADP Chair; but the ADP has not held an election thus far this year as Worley and the leadership have been hostile to the bylaws changes demanded by the DNC.
The DNC is threatening not to recognize the Alabama delegation to the Democratic national presidential nominating convention next year unless the bylaws changes are adopted. This would effectively nullify the votes of Alabama Democratic primary voters on March 3 in what is presently shaping up to be a very close Democratic presidential primary race.
Most Democratic presidential candidates have been avoiding campaigning in Alabama given the uncertainty and the division among top ranking Alabama Democrats.
At this time it appears that Worley, with the backing of powerful Alabama Democratic Conference boss Joe Reed, are going to push ahead and hold their own SDEC meeting on Saturday. It is not known yet, whether they will accept the DNC ordered changes to the bylaws or not or if the other group of SDEC members will hold that this coming meeting is illicit.
The Alabama Political Reporter has reached out to Worley; but we have not gotten a response yet.
State Representative Christopher John England (D-Tuscaloosa) said, “Great SDEC meeting today. Proud to have been there. New by-laws were adopted. The next meeting is set for November 2nd so we can elect new leadership. It’s past time.”
Doug Jones faces a tough re-election battle next year as Republicans hope to take that seat back.