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England elected first Black Chairman in Alabama Democratic Party history

Brandon Moseley



State Rep. Christopher England, D-Tuscaloosa, is the new chair of the Alabama Democratic Party.

The reform faction of the State Democratic Executive Committee met at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery to elect the new Alabama Democratic Party chair and vice chair Saturday. England defeated former congressional candidate Tabitha Isner and former candidate for lieutenant governor Will Boyd to become chair.

Former State Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, the first openly LGBT person elected to the Legislature in Alabama, defeated Adia Winfrey for vice chair.

England received 104 votes to Isner’s 63 and Boyd’s 4. Todd received 141 votes to 28 for Winfrey.

England told reporters, “Today, the party evolved.”

“It is a new day in Alabama,” England said. “African American turnout has carried this party.”

England is the first black chairman of either major political party in the history of the state.

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England said that his first concern would be the finances of the party and building staff, “This is a total rebuild.”

England said that “2010 (the election where the voters gave Republicans supermajorities in both Houses of the legislature) was absolutely the worst day of my life.”

England said that he would, “Let them (Republicans) know that things are going to be different now;” but added “It is going to take both parties working together to solve the problems of the state of Alabama.”

England still has to unite the Democratic Party, as over half of the SDEC were not present on Saturday. Under the new bylaws passed by the reformist faction of the SDEC at their meeting on October 5, it takes just 40 percent of the SDEC to be present for a quorum to be reached so that a meeting can be held.

Reporters were told that the number needed to reach a quorum was just 104 and achieving even that modest number was very much in doubt. Most of the SDEC members present were white. Most Black SDEC members honored the call by Vice Chair for Minority Affairs Joe Reed and boycotted Saturday’s meeting. After 23 minutes the meeting began with just 107 of the original SDEC members present. Neither Chair Nancy Worley or Vice Chair Randy Kelley were present.

Shelby County Democratic Party Chair Carole Marks was elected a Chair Pro Tem.

The SDEC then voted to fill three vacancies on the committee.

The new bylaws require that there be diversity caucuses so the SDEC then filled all of those positions.

The SDEC added 3 Asian and/or Pacific Islanders, two Native Americans, 8 LGBTQ members (5 Black and 3 White, 7 Hispanic members, and 48 youth members to the committee.

Attorney Barry Ragsdale told reporters that 38 of the 48 youth members were Black.

The new SDEC then voted to remove Nancy Worley and Randy Kelley as Chair and Vice Chair. The vote to remove Worley was 172 to 0.

There was a formal moment of celebration over the ouster of Worley.

Ragsdale told the press that the SDEC was not being vindictive by the votes to remove Worley and Kelley; that that was necessary under the rules in order to proceed with the new election.

The three candidates for Chair were: Rep. England, Tabitha Isner, and Rev. Dr. Will Boyd.

England was a late entry into the race for Chair.

“I will be honest with you, I have been campaigning for the office for the last 14 years as the party was collapsing,” Rep. Chris England said. “We have got a lot of people missing in this room. It will be the responsibility of the next chair not only to repair this party; but to repair this state.”

“We need a party that is completely unified and working for the same goals,” Dr. Will Boyd. I have been in this race since February. I ran for Lt. Governor last year and received over 650,000 votes. There has been a lot of disinformation said about me in this campaign. I did not run for President against Barack Obama. “I would have honored to been the doormat that he used to ascend to high office.”

“We now need to focus our energies is to speak to our base and those independent voters who will vote with us on November 3,” Dr. Boyd said. “We have to organize in all 67 counties. On our best day, in our best race, 750,000 people showed up. We are going to need more than that to win in November.”

“There are stalwarts in this party that are not here today,” Isner said. “People I have had words with. I want to be chair of the whole Democratic Party not just half of the Democratic Party.”

Isner said that families have disputes; but they are still family and families can be repaired.”

State Senator Linda-Coleman Madison, D-Birmingham, Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, Rep. Anthony Daniels, and Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Prichard, all were in attendance to support England.

England said that “There will be no stone unturned in regards to rebuilding this party.

“We are going to be transparent,” England said. “You are going to know what is happening. We are going to be competitive. We need to stop the competition from being between the far right and the moderate right.”

Isner was nominated for Vice Chair; but refused the nomination.

“I want the Chair to have the Vice-Chair that he wants,” Isner said and then left.

U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, has long been a critic of Worley and Reed’s leadership. It was Jones who asked the DNC to invalidate the 2018 elections of Worley and Kelley. Jones has been the de facto leader of the reformist faction of the SDEC throughout this effort.

“This is a remarkable day, a historic day,” Jones told reporters.

Reporters asked if the election of England would improve his chances for re-election in 2020.

“Its not just about my election,” Jones said. “Its about every down ballot race.”

Jones said that everything that was passed in the last loyalist SDEC meeting was declared “Null and void by the Democratic National Committee.”

“Alabama is more diverse now than ever in it’s history,” Jones said. “And this reflects that.”

“Alabama needs a functioning two party system,” Jones stated. “It has stagnated under one party rule.”

England has represented Tuscaloosa in the Alabama legislature since 2006. He is age 43 and is employed as a city attorney for Tuscaloosa. His father is not judge, John England.

The Alabama Political Reporter asked Ragsdale if the more than half White composition of the SDEC on Saturday violated the terms of the consent decree that the Democratic Party is under guaranteeing that the composition of the SDEC reflect the electorate that voted Democratic in the last election.

“There is no consent decree in federal court,” Ragsdale told APR.

Ragsdale said that the diversity of the body today is reflective of the state of Alabama and is compliant with the new bylaws and the instructions of the Democratic National Committee.

Chair Nancy Worley released a statement in which she said that Saturday’s elections were not valid.

Worley has sought to block this meeting, which she did not call, from even happening. A Montgomery Judge had granted a restraining order late on Friday afternoon; but that was overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court Friday night.

Joe Reed is still the Vice Chair for minority affairs and the other officers, who also were not present, still hold their positions with the party. Only the Chair and the Vice Chair were removed and replaced. The reform faction of the SDEC also added 71 new members to the SDEC so they now constitute a majority of the committee.

APR asked Dr. Boyd is he would be there as a candidate as well.

Worley and her loyalist faction of the Alabama Democratic Party are still expected to proceed with their own officer elections on November 16.

“Yes, anytime the SDEC meets I will be there,” Boyd said. “Realistically, I came in here expecting that Christopher or Tabitha would get it and I expect that Nancy will get eit there.”

In the coming days, Chair England will attempt to block Chair Worley from accessing party funds and will seek control of the Alabama Democratic Party’s finances and headquarter building in Montgomery.

“I expect a long drawn out fight,” Dr. Boyd told APR. “I wanted to unite the party. It is clear from the people not here, that that is still not there.”

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.



Gary Bauer endorses Hightower for Congress

Brandon Moseley



Congressional candidate Bill Hightower’s campaign announced Wednesday that he has received the endorsement of national social conservative leader Gary Bauer.

“I am proud to endorse Bill Hightower for Congress,” Bauer said. “Bill is a man of God who is an unapologetic voice for faith, family and freedom. He has worked to defend the unborn both in public and private life for 40 years and there has been no stronger advocate for protecting our religious liberties.”

“Bill Hightower has a proven pro-family, pro-life record that the voters of south Alabama can count on,” Bauer said. “As their congressman, I know Bill Hightower will stand with President Trump to defend our values, protect our constitutional rights, secure the border and put hard-workings America first.”

“Susan and I have followed Gary Bauer since his service to President Reagan, and his later work on the Family Research Council,” Hightower said. “Because of our personal support of James Dobson’s, Focus on the Family, with whom Gary worked, we have for at least 30 years leaned heavily upon his conservative, family-oriented commentary on culture. It is an honor to be endorsed by Gary, because like him, I am a staunch supporter of Israel and deem our religious freedoms as core to who we are as Americans.”

Bauer currently serves as president of American Values, a public policy think tank, and was Washington director of Christians United for Israel Action Fund. Bauer has held several positions in the administration of former President Ronald Reagan including deputy under-secretary of education from 1982 to 1985 and under-secretary of education from 1985 to 1987.

Bauer was then appointed assistant to the president for policy development, a position he held until January 1989. He later served as a senior vice president of Focus on the Family and as president of the Family Research Council.

In 2000, Bauer sought the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush won the nomination and went on to win the 2000 election.

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Hightower is running in Alabama’s 1st Congressional District in the July 14 Republican Primary runoff against former State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise.

Incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne is not running for re-election.

Hightower has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. Hightower has worked for several Fortune 500 companies around the world before moving back to South Alabama in 2002. He has started and run several small businesses in the Mobile area. Hightower is a husband, father and grandfather.

The winner of the Republican nomination will face the winner of the Democratic primary runoff in the Nov. 3 general election. On the Democratic side, James Averhart is running against Kiani Gardner.

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Tallassee mayor endorses Jeff Coleman

Brandon Moseley



Republican Congressional candidate Jeff Coleman has received the endorsement of Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock. Coleman is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the July 14 Republican primary runoff.

“Alabama needs a strong conservative candidate who will not back down from a challenge, and will represent the voice, people, and values of those who live in Alabama and District 2,” Hammock said. “Jeff Coleman has my full support and endorsement.”

Coleman thanked Hammock for the endorsement.

“Mayor Hammock’s leadership is evident by the respect the community has for him,” Coleman said. “He is a leader not just for Tallassee but for the surrounding area as a whole. It is an honor to have the support and endorsement of Mayor Hammock and many more in the Tallassee community!”

Tallassee is on the Tallapoosa River and is in both Elmore and Tallapoosa Counties. The city has a population of 4,581 in 2018, which is down from its peak in 1999 of 5,858.

Coleman now has the endorsements of the mayors of Luverne, Dothan, Millbrook, Geneva, and Florala.

Coleman is a native of Dothan. He is the fifth generation of his family to head the family business, Coleman Worldwide Moving, based in Dothan. He recently stepped down as President and CEO in order to run for Congress. Coleman is a former Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama. Coleman is one of the wealthiest people in Alabama.

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Coleman has been endorsed by BCA and the Alabama Farmers Federation, as well as the Alabama Realtors Association, Alabama Home Builders Association, Alabama Retail Association, Alabama Trucking Association, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Coleman is a graduate from Northview High School where he was a member of the 1981 Football team that won the Alabama High School Football State Championship. He has a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama and a Master’s in Business Administration from Troy University in Dothan. He is an Eagle Scout, a 2011 Graduate of Leadership Alabama and a 2015 Graduate of the Air War College National Security Forum. Coleman served two terms as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Alabama.

Coleman is running in the Republican primary runoff against former State Rep. Barry Moore on July 14. The eventual Republican nominee for the open 2nd Congressional District seat will face Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall in the November general election.


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Alabama Republican Assembly endorses Barry Moore

Brandon Moseley



Congressional candidates Barry Moore’s campaign on Wednesday said the Alabama Republican Assembly has endorsed him for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District.

Jennifer Montrose is the President of the Alabama Republican Assembly.

“We must have elected leaders who are committed to governing honestly and ethically and believe Barry Moore can best help our state and nation move forward in the November election,” Montrose said. “We hope you will agree with us and vote for this outstanding individual who we believe is committed to Life, Liberty and Family.”

Moore thanked the group in a statement.

“I want to thank the Alabama Republican Assembly for the vote of confidence this endorsement represents,” Moore said. “It’s an honor to be recognized in this way by this fine group of Conservatives.”

“I’ve always been committed to the conservative values I share with the ARA, and I’ll continue to fight for our Constitution, our rights, and our freedoms when I’m in Congress,” Moore continued. “I’ll do this not only to justify the faith groups like the ARA have in me but because it’s what I believe is right. The ARA knows I have a proven conservative voting record and I will always protect our 2nd amendment, take a pro-life stance, support term limits, and stand with President Trump.”

The Alabama Republican Assembly calls itself “the Republican Wing of the Republican Party.”

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Moore continues to receive endorsements from prominent Alabama politicians and groups from across the state in his bid to go to the United States Congress.

Moore faces Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. Moore served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 until 2018 and has been endorsed by both current and former members who served with him there.

Rep. Mike Holmes (R-Wetumpka) said, “I have served in the Alabama House with Rep. Barry Moore; and found him to be one of our Top Five Conservatives every year. I served with him at the RNC Convention in 2016 when Rep. Moore was one of the first to endorse Trump. He is still strongly aligned with Trump. I enthusiastically endorse Barry Moore for Congressional District 2!.”

Rep. Charlotte Meadows (R-Montgomery) said, “When Rep. Barry Moore served in the State House he chaired the Military and Veterans Affairs committee. He was instrumental in bringing the F-35 to Montgomery and he well understands the needs of our Veterans and the importance of our military bases to Alabama. He will always work to support both. I am proud to support Barry Moore for our next Congressman.”

Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur)said, “Barry Moore is a man of integrity and honor. He will represent Alabama well.”

Former Rep. Barry Mask (R-Alexander City) said, “Barry Moore is a fighting conservative who has been through the fire. As a veteran, he stands with our country and will fight to preserve it. He was a Trump man early on and has earned our trust.”

“It’s humbling to have so many leading Alabama Republicans endorse me in this race,” Moore said. “These are the people I served within the Alabama House, and they know me and what I stand for. I appreciate their endorsements, and I will do everything I can to honor their trust by continuing to represent the people of our District and our conservative values in Congress. I thank everyone who’s endorsed me, and those who have supported me in this race. I look forward to serving the people of Alabama and District 2 as their next Congressman.”

Moore has been endorsed by the Eagle Forum, Conservative Christians of Alabama, the American Workers Coalition, the Club for Growth, and the House Freedom Fund. He is a former member of the Alabama Legislature, a small businessman, a veteran, a husband, and a father of four from Enterprise.

Moore and his wife Heather own a waste disposal company. Moore is a small businessman, a veteran, a husband, and a father of four from Enterprise. He has a degree from Auburn University.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorses Jerry Carl

Brandon Moseley



The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl in the race for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.

The U.S. Chamber said in a statement that it is proud to endorse Carl, in an effort to promote free enterprise and job-creating policies for businesses across all regions and sectors.

“In difficult times, we are reminded of the importance of having leaders that understand the genius of the American system of government and free enterprise and who are willing to tackle the hard problems that confront our nation,” said U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “As our country faces many challenges and is collectively working to not just reopen our economy, but return to growth and expanded opportunities for all Americans, we need leaders like Jerry Carl. He has a proven track record of leading responsibly and standing up for good policies. The U.S. Chamber is proud to endorse Jerry and looks forward to partnering with him in the future.”

“THANK YOU, U.S. Chamber for the endorsement!” Carl wrote on social media. “I’m proud to be endorsed by the U.S. Chamber! I look forward to working with President Trump and the Chamber to get our economy roaring again!”

The United States Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business advocacy organization and represents more than three million business interests. The Chamber has been leading the business community for 108 years.

The Chamber’s Alabama affiliate, the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) endorsed Carl last month.

BCA had endorsed State Rep. Chris Pringle in the March 3 Republican primary; but Pringle finished third and did not advance to the runoff.

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Commissioner Carl faces former State Senator Bill Hightower (R-Mobile) in the Republican primary runoff on July 14. The eventual Republican nominee will face the winner of the Democratic party runoff between Kiani Gardner and James Averhart.

Incumbent Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) is not seeking re-election. Byrne has endorsed Carl.

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