The Alabama Democratic Party will field a slate of “credible and viable candidates” for statewide offices — but party leadership isn’t ready yet to provide details, ADP executive director Wade Perry said on the Alabama Politics This Week podcast.
With Alabama Republicans already fighting in a number of primary races — and raising money — Democratic voters around the state have become increasingly worried that Democratic candidates for most offices — including the big ones, such as U.S. Senate, governor and attorney general — haven’t yet been announced. But Perry said the quiet is part of the plan.
“I have talked to a number of folks who could and would be credible candidates for these offices and frankly encouraged them to keep their powder dry for the time being,” he said. “We are not going to have the financial advantage, so a shorter campaign season is going to be better for us. And not only on the financial side, but the longer the Republicans are beating each other up, the better off we’re going to be.”
Perry and party leaders have not been unrealistic about the chances Democratic candidates have in the bigger races. In the 2020 election cycle, one of the most popular and moderate Democrats in the country, former Sen. Doug Jones, was beaten soundly by former football coach Tommy Tuberville.
That was the most recent defeat in a decade of losses for ADP — both in elections and in fundraising.
But in 2018, with Jones leading the way, old ADP leadership was forced out and the party’s bylaws were changed. The new leadership and new members of the State Democratic Executive Committee brought new energy and seemed to inspire more confidence from big-money donors. There’s little doubt that the party is on better financial footing now, and it has a plan to work from the bottom up and slowly chip away at the Republican stranglehold.
The plan isn’t sexy or groundbreaking. It’s hard work, similar to the way Georgia Democrats turned things around — through a decade of effort by party officials to reach voters.
“What worked in Georgia was 10 years of organizing,” Perry said, referring to Georgia Democrats’ recent success. “Now, we don’t have an Atlanta … but the same concepts will apply here. There’s no secret formula. You have to work at this every day, get out there and organize and talk to voters.”
Perry said he was hopeful that recent failures by Republicans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and pretty much all health care issues could accelerate the process. And Democrats plan to lean on those issues heavily and point out the stark differences between the two parties.
“It’s a tough row to hoe, but I think we are making some progress,” Perry said. “That party is one of ineptitude and corruption now, and they haven’t done anything to help with the COVID. They voted against the relief funding. They voted against basically everything that would help the average citizens of Alabama.
“It doesn’t matter if you live in Winston County or Wilcox County, if that hospital shuts down because we didn’t expand Medicaid and all of a sudden you’re two hours away from maternal care or heart care, it costs lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black, white or anything else. That’s on Republicans.”