By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Democratic National Committee has set hearings on petitions challenging the election of Alabama Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley.
Two separate challenges were filed saying rules were broken to swing an August leadership election in favor of Worley and Vice Chairman Randy Kelley. The dispute follows years of infighting over the direction and management decisions of the state party.
In a Jan. 24 letter, the national party said an evidentiary hearing will be held Feb. 11. Unless a resolution is reached by mediation, the party’s credentials committee will hear the challenges on Feb. 14. The panel will make a recommendation to the full DNC.
One challenge said that numerous rules were violated to “stack the deck” in favor of them and noted that 190 votes were recorded when only 142 state committee members signed in at the meeting.
“With (Worley) and (Kelley) presiding over the meeting, the elections were conducted in a sloppy and haphazard manner that was easily susceptible to manipulation. The elections were deliberately manipulated in order to favor Worley, Kelley and all other incumbent SDEC officers,” the complaint read.
Worley said she and Kelley look forward to the evidentiary hearing “at which our attorney can present the rules and past practices which we followed.”
“The complainants need to stop re-fighting the Civil War and focus on helping Democrats win elections,” Worley said
Some Democrats have sought new leadership at the state party and have questioned party management and decisions. Those calls were reignited after a disappointing election year. Despite renewed energy after the 2017 election of Sen. Doug Jones, Democrats lost all statewide Alabama elections in 2018. Jones is the only Democrat to hold statewide office in Alabama.