MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A group from the Alabama Democratic Party held a vote Saturday and reelected Nancy Worley and Randy Kelley as chair and vice chair despite a different election that was held on Nov. 2. This is the latest development in an ongoing struggle within the party.
Worley held Saturday’s meeting despite State Rep. Chris England being elected the new Alabama Democratic Party chair at a separate State Democratic Executive Committee meeting earlier this month on Nov. 2.
WSFA 12 News reached out to the DNC and received a letter written by DNC Chair Tom Perez that was sent to England after he was elected as party chair at the Nov. 2 meeting. In the letter, Perez confirmed England’s election.
"I am writing to confirm that on November, 4, 2019, your election was officially certified by the Democratic National Committee and that, in addition to being recognized by the DNC as the Chair and First Vice Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, you are now recognized as members of the Democratic National Committee.
"I am also writing to confirm that the DNC recognizes each action taken by the State Democratic Executive Committee of the Alabama Democratic Party at its November 2, 2019, meeting, including its cancellation of the November 16, 2019, meeting called by the previous Party Chair. Because the SDEC has cancelled that meeting, the DNC will not consider any action taken at that meeting to be an action taken by the Alabama Democratic Party.”
Worley stated she does not recognize the election of England as party chair.
Worley said the DNC “does not tell the Alabama Democratic Party what to do.” U.S. Sen. Doug Jones along with the DNC and Alabama Supreme Court recognized the party election at the Nov. 2 meeting.
Currently, the SDEC is split into two sides. Both sides are operating under different party leadership and different sets of bylaws. Worley refers to the faction that opposes her leadership as the “splinter group.”
On Oct. 5, the “splinter group" passed a new set of bylaws, but then Worley’s faction turned around a week later and passed its own set of bylaws.
At the Nov. 2 meeting, the “splinter group" unseated Worley and Kelley as chair and vice chair.
Kelley was re-elected as vice chair after Rep. Patricia Todd was elected the new vice chair at the same Nov. 2 meeting that England was elected.
Following Saturday’s meeting and elections by the Worley faction, WSFA 12 News reached out to England for a response. He said, “The DNC Chair Tom Perez sent several letters to let them know that they recognized what we’ve been doing over the last month or so was recognized by them.”
Adding to the drama of the ongoing internal party struggle, Worley said last weekend she was locked out of the Alabama Democratic Party office.
England responded, saying the locks were changed at the office but the office has been open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rumors had also speculated that Worley had pulled a gun on someone at the party office last week and threatened to use it. Worley said, “that is totally a lie.”
Worley said some volunteers were still at the office a few hours after the qualifying period had closed. Worley said she’d asked them to leave.
“Last Friday, we had a lot of great volunteers in the office helping people. After about an hour-and-a-half of their continuing to help people and all the qualifiers had been gone for awhile, I asked those people to leave. And most of them did. A couple stayed behind and I asked them two or three times to leave and they didn’t do that and so I finally said about two, two-and-a-half hours after qualifying had closed, ‘You know I may just have to go get my gun.’ Now, that’s what happened,” said Worley.
When asked about the alleged incident, England replied, “Yeah I wasn’t there. I don’t have any comment on that.”
No exact attendance number was given at Saturday’s meeting.