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Opinion | Will a final display of arrogance be Worley and Reed’s undoing?

Josh Moon

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Nancy and Joe messed up. 

A few days before a breakaway group of Alabama Democrats held their “official meeting” of the State Democratic Executive Committee on Saturday in Montgomery, Nancy Worley and Joe Reed dismissed the whole affair. 

They called it an illegitimate meeting. Said it didn’t mean anything. Chuckled at the silliness of the people trying to pull this coup. 

Basically, they said, “pfft,” and shooed away an imaginary fly with their hands. 

And that was probably a mistake. 

Now, to be clear here, I am not an attorney. I have talked to lots of attorneys. And I know how to read. But still, not an attorney, so consider that when you weigh what I’m about to say. 

That decision to dismiss Saturday’s meeting so casually might end up being Worley’s and Reed’s undoing. 

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The reason for that is because their power lies with the positions they currently hold in the Alabama Democratic Party. And they willingly relinquished those powers without a fight. 

Before we get too deep into this, let’s briefly recap where we are. 

At Saturday’s meeting, a breakaway group of Dems, led by Rep. Chris England, voted to approve new bylaws — the same bylaws that the Democratic National Committee approved a couple of weeks ago. Those bylaws create a new diversity caucus and put in place other rules about approving at-large members. 

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Those new rules and the new caucus would seriously weaken Reed’s power within the party, since, as ADP vice-chair for minority affairs, he has the power to appoint numerous at-large members under the old bylaws. 

These new bylaws would likely cut his appointed members by at least half, and would force the SDEC members to approve any at-large members nominated. 

Since Worley won re-election in 2018 thanks largely to those at-large members appointed by Reed, that’s bad news for her. And for him. 

That power Worley holds as chairwoman is significant — perhaps the single most significant piece to her maintaining power throughout this year-long fight. The DNC rules never envisioned a scenario in which a state party chair would fight against the national party and a large chunk of the state party. So, there are no rules to move Worley out of the way. 

That’s why the last year has taken so long and been such a spectacle. They had to come up with a means to remove Worley and lessen Reed’s power on the fly. 

And quite a few attorneys doubted that they could. 

Then Worley and Reed opened the door on Saturday. By never walking through it. 

Oh, I get why they didn’t go to the member-called meeting organized by Sen. Doug Jones: They were setting up their later legal argument that the meeting was so illegitimate that they, and a majority of SDEC members, didn’t even bother attending. 

And that might be a good strategy, except for one thing: The DNC is a private entity that can set its own rules and bylaws, elects its own leadership and controls how those elections work. 

That’s why Nancy Worley isn’t subject to the authority of the Alabama Secretary of State’s office over the fact that she doesn’t reside in the district that she represents in the SDEC. John Merrill has no authority, because the ADP and the DNC aren’t subject to state election laws. 

Likewise, courts are particularly leary of matters involving political parties, and they tend to take a hands-off approach to internal fights and any matter that don’t involve criminal allegations.  

I can’t imagine any court in America taking a look at Saturday’s ADP meeting, where several DNC officials were present and all of the national leadership seemed satisfied that all rules were followed, and disallowing the results. It’s just not what they do. 

That was, according to the DNC and ADP bylaws, a properly called meeting that was approved by the signatures of more than half of the SDEC membership. 

The one thing that could have stopped it all, that could have blocked the new bylaws and sent the disgruntled SDEC members home disappointed was Worley showing up to the meeting and serving as chair. Because that was her right. 

The moment she walked through the door at any SDEC meeting, she is the chair. She decides what gets to the floor for a vote. She determines how the meetings will be conducted, or if there will be any votes at all. 

Worley could have shut it all down. 

Instead, she and Reed laughed at them and sat at home, perhaps one final display of the I-know-better-than-you arrogance that has rubbed so many people the wrong way the last few years. 

Wouldn’t it be ironic if that hubris was ultimately their undoing.

 

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Moore legal team files motion for Judge Rochester to recuse

Brandon Moseley

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Attorney Melissa Isaak filed Thursday on behalf of her client, Judge Roy Moore, a motion to recuse Judge John Rochester from further consideration of the legal case between Moore and his accuser, Leigh Corfman.

The Moore team said that is the case due to the following reasons: “Judge Rochester’s continued decision to preside over this case despite the fact that his appointment was “temporary” and expired on January 14, 2019 over a year ago, Judge Rochester’s untimely delay of approximately five months in ruling on dispositive motions in this case brought only to accuse Judge Moore of defamation for merely denying false allegations against him, which is not even a valid cause of action, Judge Rochester’s open friendship, support, and financial contributions for Doug Jones in his 2017 Senate campaign against Judge Moore, according to his own personal Facebook account, Open and virulent criticism of Judge Moore by Linda Rochester, wife of Judge John Rochester during the 2017 Senate campaign on her own personal Facebook page, Judge Rochester’s criticism and mocking of Christianity on his Facebook page with full knowledge of Judge Moore’s strong belief in God, Judge Rochester’s political animus against the Republican Party and President Donald Trump who supported Judge Moore in the 2017 general election, Judge Rochester’s obvious political bias in his quick response to set a trial date in this case, within two weeks of the upcoming Republican primary which will determine the opponent in the general election against Doug Jones.”

Moore claims, “As stated in Attorney Isaak’s motion, any individual would have a solid basis for questioning Judge John Rochester’s impartiality, political motivation, and bias in presiding over this case.”
Moore is claiming that Judge John Rochester’s friendship, support, and financial contribution to Doug Jones in combination with his wife’s open criticism of Judge Moore during the 2017 special election for US Senate in which Judge Moore was a candidate, mandates immediate recusal of Judge John Rochester in this frivolous action.

Moore has also objected in the past to this case being in Montgomery County court, when Corfman’s allegations of improper sexual conduct between her and Moore in 1976 allegedly occurred in Etowah County.

Corfman claims that Moore and her engaged in inappropriate touching through their underwear in 1976 when Corfman was just 15 years old. Under Alabama law, then as now, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16, not 15. Corfman’s allegation, along with allegations by women dating from decades ago were released in an article by the Washington Post after Moore had won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2017. The shocking allegations were trumpeted by the national press as well as by Democrats. Moore narrowly lost the December 2017 special election to Clinton era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones (D), the only time a Democrat has won any statewide election in Alabama since 2008.

Moore has steadfastly denied the allegations. Corfman sued Moore in Montgomery Court after the election for defamation of character. Moore has since sued Corfman, the other accusers, and the architects of the Reed Hoffman financed, illicit Russian style tactics, which Moore claims were largely responsible with depressing Republican turnout and increasing the efforts by GOP moderates to defeat Moore by writing in the name of some candidate other than Moore.

While many Republicans accepted the accusations against Moore as “credible” they rejected similar accusations against Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh.

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Moore was twice elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and is a current candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Jones.

The Republican primary is on March 3.

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Conservatives urge voters to vote “no” on Amendment One

Brandon Moseley

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On February 4 conservative thought leaders from across the State of Alabama spoke in front of the Alabama Statehouse urging voters to vote No on Amendment One.

Amendment one would strip Alabama voters of their ability to elect the state school board and replace the elected board with a commission appointed by the Governor.

Former state school board member Betty Peters (R) said that Amendment One amends the state constitution requiring schools to adopt nationwide standards.

“There are no nationally recognized standards other than the Common Core Standards,” Peters warned.

Lou Campomenosi with the Campaign for Common Sense said, “Voting No on Amendment one is absolutely essential”

“The Alabama Conservative Coalition has been working on this since August,” Campomenosi added. “We are tired of this and we are not going to take it any more.”

Peters called the wording of Amendment One “Deceptive.”

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“I served on the state school board for 16 years and I had a 100 percent record of opposing Common Core, also known as College and Career Ready Standards,” Peters said.

Peters blamed the implementation of Common Core and Alabama’s subsequent drop to last place nationally in education to: Bob Riley, Kay Ivey, Terri Collins and the Business Council of Alabama.

“We defeated Amendment One (in 2003) with a 70 percent vote and lets do it again,” Peters said.

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Dr. Joe Godfrey with the Alabama Citizens Action Patrol said, “We are opposed to amendment one and we are trying to encourage pastors to oppose it as well.”

“We are taking away that very right to elect people that our forefathers fought for,” Godfrey continued. “Church members need to go to their pastor and ask them to get involved in this.”

State Representative Bob Fincher (R-Woodland) said, “I voted against this amendment twice, in the education policy committee and on the floor.”

“I was not sent to Montgomery as a representative of the Governor’s office, the BCA, or the AEA,” Fincher continued. “It is not in the interests of the people of Alabama. The people of this state do not need to cede their right to Montgomery to elect a state school board.”

“A board appointed by the Governor will respond to whatever the governor tells them to do, not what the people tell them,” Fincher added. “That other party has adopted many proposals that are highly socialistic. This is a socialist program. It takes away from the people their power and their sovereignty and places it in the hands of government officials.”

“I am an old high school history teacher and I taught government,” Fincher said, “I hope that we avoid this with every ounce of energy that we possess.”

“Don’t take the bait,” Fincher warned.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said, “March 3rd is one of the most important state elections in history.”

“Amendment One will take your right away to vote on state school board members and let Gov Ivey have the right to appoint all the state school board,” Zeigler said. “It puts the requirements of the common core into the state constitution.”

“My wife, Jackie Zeigler, ran against a gov Bentley appointee,” Zeigler added. “The young man had never been involved in public schools. He as an incumbent raised $216,000 in special interest money. Jackie Zeigler would never have been appointed even though she is the most qualified person to ever have served.”

Senate candidate State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) said, “It is about our children and grandchildren. The socialist left is attacking the very values that built this country.”

“This is too much concentration of authority in the executive branch,” Mooney warned. “I am not in favor of national standards.”

“We don’t need to be educating illegal immigrants at a cost $16,000 per person,” Mooney said.

Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals) said, “I was one of three Republicans in the Alabama legislature to vote against this. In 1970, we had an appointed board.” We switched to an elected board because they at the time thought would work better not they want to switch to an appointed board again.

Sorrell said that the state had tried to build a toll bridge in Mobile without the support of the people. “Thank you to our State Auditor for putting the kobash on that.”

“I have seen the polling on this issue and we can win and we will win,” Sorrell said.

Voters go to the polls on Tuesday, March 3 to decide whether or not to surrender their powers to elect the school board.

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Elections

Sanders Wins Nevada

Brandon Moseley

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Saturday, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, appears to have followed his victory in the New Hampshire primary with a victory in the Nevada caucuses.

“First we won the popular vote in Iowa. Then we won the New Hampshire primary. And now we have won the Nevada caucus,” Sen. Sanders said. “Let me first thank the people of Nevada for their support. We put together a multi-racial, multi-generational coalition across the state that will win not only in Nevada, but all across this country. No other campaign has a grassroots movement like we do, which is a large reason why we’re gonna win this election.”

The Alabama primary is just one week away on Super Tuesday.

“We are going to win across the country because the American people are sick and tired of a corrupt administration that is undermining American democracy.” Sanders continued. “They are sick and tired of a government based on greed and lies. It is time for an administration which is based on the principles of economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.”

Sanders received 47.1 percent of the vote. Former Vice President Joe Biden received 21 percent of the vote. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg received just 13.7 percent of the vote. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, continued to underperform with just 9.6 percent of the vote. Billionaire Tom Steyer of California received just 4.7 percent of the vote. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, failed to gain any momentum off of her strong third place finish in New Hampshire and received just 3.9 percent of the vote.

Sanders is clearly the frontrunner going into the South Carolina primary. The self -proclaimed socialist has won 34 delegates to this point. Buttigieg is in second with 23, and Biden and Warren are tied with eight. Klobuchar has seven delegates.

New York City Mayor billionaire Michael Bloomberg have foregone the early primaries. He participated in his first debate and according to most observers did not fare well. Moderate Democrats have expressed concern that the party may suffer in November if the socialist label is attached to its nominee. Republicans are taking enjoyment from the Democrats’ strife.

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“Michael Bloomberg maybe a Billionaire but when questioned by his fellow Socialist Democrats, he looked like a Deer in headlights!” Trump national finance committee chair Perry Hooper Jr. said. “Mini Mike was clear the Debate looser. It is very apparent that the National Democrat party today are controlled by the Left and they are very comfortable with Socialist Democrat, Bernie Sanders. But I think the real Looser is the Democrat Party! The Winner is and will continue to be heavy weight Champion, President Donald J. Trump.”

It takes 1,994 delegates to win the nomination. The next contest is the South Carolina Primary

The Alabama Democratic primary is March 3.

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Elections

Alabama Democratic Women to host first Women in Blue Day on March 10

Jessa Reid Bolling

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On March 10, the Alabama Democratic Women (ADW) organization will host their first annual Women in Blue Day, a day where state chapters of the National Federation of Democratic Women meet at their state capitols to speak with their legislators about issues that are of particular relevance to women and families. 

Attendees will gather at the Alabama State House at the Tunnels (11 S Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36130) and all attendees are encouraged to wear blue attire in a symbol of solidarity. Check-in/registration will begin at 9:45 AM.

The day will include a briefing with Democratic representatives, a Capitol tour, brunch, observance of the legislative meeting, and a State Party update at the Alabama Democratic Party headquarters from Alabama Democratic Party Chair, Rep. Chris England.

ADW is a nonprofit political organization dedicated to supporting the Democratic Party and Democratic Women in Alabama, according to their website. The mission of ADW is to “unite Democratic women across the state of Alabama to ensure that we have a seat at the table and that our voices are heard.”

 

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