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Worley re-elected as chair — but as chair of what?

Nancy Worley

Saturday, the Alabama Democratic Party State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) met in Montgomery and re-elected Nancy Worley as chairwomen. Many Democrats, including large numbers of the SDEC, refuse to accept the validity of Saturday’s election and boycotted the meeting.

Sources told the Alabama Political Reporter that by their estimates there was not a quorum present, but the meeting proceeded anyway. The number needed is 105. Worley was re-elected without opposition, but only those members of the SDEC loyal to her and Vice Chairman for Minority Affairs Joe Reed were in attendance.

The reformist faction of the SDEC met two weeks earlier in Montgomery and elected State Representative Christopher John England (D-Tuscaloosa) as Chair and former State Representative Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) as vice-chair. Worley and her loyalist faction had boycotted the November 2 meeting. Worley and Vice-Chair Randy Kelley were removed unanimously at the reform faction SDEC meeting on Nov 2.

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Alabama) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have been consistently backing the reformist faction throughout this process.

On Wednesday, DNC Chairman Tom Perez sent a letter to Chairman England and Vice-Chair Todd stating that the DNC has certified the results of the Nov. 2 election and that both England and Todd were now members of the DNC. The DNC had revoked Worley and Kelley’s credentials in August.

Worley said then that her detractors on the DNC, “Can go to Hell.”

The DNC also officially canceled the SDEC meeting on Saturday. Worley held the meeting anyway in defiance of the DNC, whom Worley has accused of interfering in the affairs of the Alabama party.

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Worley had previously been re-elected in the summer SDEC meeting in 2018, where Worley fought off a Jones backed challenge by Montgomery attorney and Democratic strategist Peck Fox. The results of that re-election were overturned by the DNC in February at the urging of Jones.

On November 8, the last day of candidate qualifying, Worley ordered Democratic volunteers to leave the Democratic headquarters in Montgomery. When they did not, Worley reportedly told them that she had a gun and knew how to use it. They then vacated the premises. England and the reformist faction reportedly now have control of the headquarters building and have changed all of the locks. They reportedly also have control of the Alabama Democratic Party’s records and financial accounts.

Worley won re-election on Saturday, but many political observers believe that she has little likelihood of prevailing in an extended court battle with England and the reformists.

Worley is the first woman to be Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party in the history of the state. She is a former Secretary of State and Alabama Education Association President. Worley is a former classroom teacher.

Following his election as Chair, England was asked what he would say to Worley.

“Thank you for your service,” was England’s response.

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

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