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Tabitha Isner appeals to Democrats to support her chair candidacy

The Alabama Democratic Party plans to hold a meeting on Saturday to elect a new chair and vice-chair. Tabitha Isner is running for the chair position.

“I want to be Chair of the Alabama Democrats,” Isner said in an email appeal to Alabama Democrats.

The State Democratic Executive Committee has been ordered by the Democratic National Committee to hold a new election after the 2018 elections of Nancy Worley and Randy Jolley were invalidated by the DNC over alleged irregularities in how the elections were handled last year.

“I want to be Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party,” Isner said. “For the last six months, I’ve been auditioning for that role. I have recruited and coached candidates for offices small and large. I have visited county parties and clubs. I have laid out a strategic plan for moving forward with fundraising, building infrastructure, and nursing wounds within our party. I have studied the budget and drafted position descriptions, messaging plans, and resource books. I have put out press releases and answered the phone each and every time that a member of the media asked for an interview. I have proven again and again that if chosen as your Party Chair, I will be Faithful. Dedicated. Consistent.”

Isner ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2018 for Alabama’s Second Congressional District seat currently held by Martha Roby, R-Montgomery. Isner alleges that the current leadership of the ADP did little to support her and the other Democratic candidates in 2018. Republicans won every statewide office handily, held on to their six to one advantage in the congressional delegation and grew their supermajorities in both the Alabama House and Senate in 2018.

“I have not just talked about transparency and inclusion, I have demonstrated it,” Isner added. “I have communicated with all SDEC members about the state of the party, when no one else was doing it.”

“I sent letters, emails, postcards and made phone calls to every SDEC member in the state, not just the ones I thought would support me,” Isner continued. “I attended Young Democrats events & College Democrats events, showing them support & encouraging them to get more involved with the party. I attended ADC events and met with New South leaders. I sought to provide a variety of accommodations for our SDEC meetings so that those with disabilities could fully participate. I hosted conference calls and invited the public to attend so that every Democrat in Alabama had the opportunity to be heard and to contribute. I crowd-funded for supplies and posted every receipt on a public website.”

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Isner is the Chief Executive Officer at Christian Services for Children in Alabama, Inc., a charitable group. She is an ordained minister at Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She is a former business analyst at New World Now and formerly was an agency policy specialist at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She previously worked as field director for Sharon Sund for US Congress and as senior research analyst at Child Trends. She studied Divinity at the University of Chicago. She is married to the Rev. Shane Isner. They live in Montgomery. She is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana.

Former Lt. Gov candidate Dr. Will Boyd, State Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), and Worley are also candidates for chair.

Worley and the ADP leadership is not expect to be at Saturday’s meeting. Worley maintains that Saturday’s meeting and new bylaws changes which stacks the SDEC with quotas for Hispanics, youth, LGBTQ persons, Asians, and Pacific Islanders were both not legitimate and has filed suit.

Worley and her loyalist faction have called their own SDEC meeting and elections for November 16. They have also filled vacancies on the SDEC in defiance of orders from the DNC. It is possible that after November 16 that there could be two different ADP chairs, each claiming to be the legitimate Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party. If so, a court will likely have to decide who gets the state headquarters and other ADP assets.

The powerful Alabama Democratic Conference is supporting Worley and opposes the new bylaws changes, arguing that it dilutes black representation on the SDEC. ADC Chair Joe Reed has argued that the reformist faction of the ADP is attempting to disenfranchise black people in Alabama from their present leadership roles in the ADP. The reformist faction, many of them White liberals, argue that their dissatisfaction with the ADP leadership has nothing to do with racism.

The meetings begin at 8:00 a.m. with caucus meetings.

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

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