By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Democratic Party must hold new elections for state party leaders, following a decision by the Democratic National Committee’s credentials committee to order a do-over of this summer’s contentious election.
The credentials committee voted to recommend that new elections for chairman and vice-chairman be held within 90 days under DNC supervision. The full DNC must give final approval to the recommendation, but people on both sides of the dispute said they expect that to happen. The committee also ordered a review of party bylaws.
The action arose after challenges were filed contesting this summer’s election of state Chairwoman Nancy Worley and Vice Chairman Randy Kelley. One challenge contended multiple rules were broken during the election to “stack the deck” in their favor. A separate challenge said the party did not follow diversity requirements.
An attorney representing challengers praised the decision.
“I believe that this is a good result for all Alabama Democrats. We welcome the credential committee’s decision to help Alabama Democrats build a more inclusive and stronger party, said Richard Rouco.
Worley said Thursday that she welcomed the opportunity to alleviate concerns with another election.
“While I disagree with their decision, I look forward to our having the opportunity to lay any concerns to rest and our continuing to represent our important Democratic principles,” Worley wrote in a text message.
Worley said she expects the DNC will accept the recommendation. She said they do not plan to challenge the recommendation before the DNC. Worley said she will run for party chairwoman again in the upcoming election.
Some Democrats have sought new leadership at the state party and have openly questioned party management and decisions.
Those calls were reignited after a disappointing election year. Despite renewed energy after the 2017 election of U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, Democrats lost all statewide Alabama elections in 2018. Jones is the only Democrat to hold statewide office in Alabama.
“It’s about where we are today as a Democratic Party in the state of Alabama, and I can tell you we are at rock bottom. Period,” Jones told the committee.
An audience member livestreamed the meeting on social media.
Ralph Young, who filed one of the challenges, said he wanted to review the approved resolution before commenting.