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Opinion | After a wild Friday, Saturday could be a new beginning for the ADP and the end for Worley, Reed

The end has arrived for Nancy and Joe.

Following a wild evening, in which a circuit court judge inexplicably blocked a called meeting of the Alabama Democratic Party and then the Alabama Supreme Court unblocked that meeting, embattled ADP chairwoman Nancy Worley could be heard on a phone call — apparently with Joe Reed — making plans to pay off final bills, collect personal belongings and maybe try to hire one more attorney. 

The end. 

In many ways, it was the fitting end. 

Here was the ADP chairwoman, the overseer of a party hopelessly behind the times in messaging and practice, foiled again by technology — the phone call was apparently an accidental dial by Worley, who connected on a Facebook Messenger call so a third-party, Cara McClure, could overhear her call with Reed. McClure then aired the call on Facebook Live and a copy of the recording was spread around social media. 

The call itself was … sad. 

Both in its content and its symbolism for the Worley/Reed era of the ADP. 

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Here was Reed apparently pushing Worley to make one last ditch effort to hire an attorney — to take out a loan on behalf of the party if need be — to keep fighting even after the breakaway faction of Alabama Democrats vote her out of office on Saturday with the DNC’s blessing. 

And there was Worley, essentially telling Reed that it was over, that she would not “in good conscience” take out a loan on behalf of the party or attempt to hire an attorney she knew the new ADP chair would not pay. 

It wasn’t necessarily an act of honor, but one of self-preservation. Worley stated a couple of times that someone else was welcome to take out the loan, and she noted that if the new ADP chair wouldn’t pay the new attorney she was concerned that attorney would come looking for her for payment. 

And so, it ends. With one last sad display of ineptitude that followed a day of good ol’ fashioned political scheming. 

The Worley/Reed faction of the ADP had filed suit against the Reform Caucus of the ADP earlier in the week, asking Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Greg Griffin to prevent the reformers from holding a scheduled meeting on Saturday morning. 

That meeting had been called at a previous Reform Caucus meeting on Oct. 5, which the Worley/Reed faction refused to recognize. But the Democratic National Committee certainly recognized it, and offered letters of full support for the reformers. 

At issue was a rewrite of ADP bylaws to better conform to DNC standards, particularly in the areas of recognizing minority groups like LGBTQ individuals, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and youth. Welcoming in those new members would significantly lessen the power of Reed, ADP’s vice-chair for minority affairs, because his definition of “minority” for years has been African American individuals. 

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To meet the requirements of the ADP bylaws, Reed had only to select at-large black members — most of whom were loyal to him — to fill dozens of spots prior to each leadership election. It gave him immense power to control the party and its leaders. 

The addition of more minority members — more than double the numbers he could appoint — would be a serious blow to Reed’s power. And by extension, it would threaten Worley’s position as party chair. 

So, they were fighting the DNC — which is an odd position for any state Democratic party. 

And they almost won. 

Griffin inexplicably granted a temporary restraining order against the reformers and blocked their meeting. But not only did he block it, Griffin also held his order until 4:59 p.m. on Friday in an apparent attempt to prevent an immediate appeal of his decision. 

It didn’t work. 

Sensing that something fishy was happening, attorneys working for the reformers had an emergency appeal ready to file with the Alabama Supreme Court. And the 100-percent-Reublican ALSC was more than happy to participate in the Democratic Party melee. 

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It issued a ruling in hours — or 1,210 days (and counting) sooner than the Mike Hubbard ruling — staying Griffin’s ruling and allowing the meeting to go on as planned. 

Tough night for Griffin, who should probably start looking for office space for his private practice for when his term ends in a couple of years. 

And so, the end is clear. 

At Saturday’s meeting, the Reform Caucus will elect new ADP leadership. Those leaders will be recognized by the DNC, and it will move forward as if Joe and Nancy don’t exist. There will certainly be legal battles and hurt feelings, but what happens on Saturday will be the beginning of the end for the Worley/Reed era of the ADP. 

And it will be the beginning of the much brighter beginning of a brand new ADP.


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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