MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Former state Senator Myron Penn has announced he will not run for chair of the Alabama Democratic Party. In an interview with WSFA 12 News, Penn said he felt if he won the election he would not be able to lead effectively due to division within the Democratic Party.
Penn announced in February he would run against longtime Chairwoman Nancy Worley, who was re-elected in August, but the National Democratic Party ordered a new election following questions about the state’s voting process.
Penn’s candidacy was quickly criticized by State Democratic Conference Leader Dr. Joe Reed.
Reed wrote a letter to the National Democratic Committee claiming Penn was hand-picked to run for the chairmanship and that U.S. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama persuaded the chairman of the DNC into trying to gain control of the Alabama Democratic Party. Penn called the accusations untrue.
“Everyone who knows me in the state legislature, and I challenge anybody to ask any legislator I serve with, they know that Myron Penn has never been hand-picked or controlled by anybody," said Penn. "That is not my style. That has never been my style and never will be. In fact, every effort that I’ve made to become chairman of the party up to this point has been a sacrifice that I have taken personally.”
In an interview with WSFA 12 News, Reed said Penn’s withdrawal is a step toward unity. Reed has maintained his support for the re-election of Nancy Worley as chair of the Alabama Democratic Party.
In a recent letter to the Alabama Democratic Conference Executive Committee, Reed said Penn would be a “Figure-Head” if elected. He also wrote in a letter to the National Democratic Party saying it was staging a “Power Grab.”
“I wrote the letter to the Democratic Party and I stand by the letter to the Democratic Party, because I was right in what I said. Now, having done that there is no reason why we can’t extend the hand of unity and all of us work together for the common good of the Democratic Party of Alabama,” said Reed.
With Penn out of the race, current chairwoman Worley will have no opposition for re-election.
An election for chair and vice chair of the Alabama Democratic Party will be held May 4.