Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama Democrats split over formation of new group

Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party Mark Kennedy resigned his position on April 22 and soon after formed the Alabama Democratic Majority, a new political organization focused on getting more Democratic candidates elected in a state where Republicans control all state-level elected offices and retain a majority in both houses of the legislature.

Kennedy resigned after disputes with Nancy Worley and Joe Reed, two prominent Democrats and members of the party’s executive board, over the direction and finances of a state party experiencing significant financial woes. After his resignation, Kennedy faced accusations that he wrongfully diverted resources away from the Democratic Party.

Nancy Worley, acting chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, said Kennedy’s decision was based on the party’s current financial situation.

“Our former chairman saw that there were many bills that were not paid. There was a great deal of indebtedness, and they were about to turn off some things here at the building,” Worley said. “Apparently he chose to leave the party and go form another entity.”

Kennedy and the Alabama Democratic Majority have rejected the claims that they diverted resources when forming the new organization. Bradley Davidson, executive director of the Alabama Democratic Majority, said any donors who moved did so of their own volition.

“We did not take any donors with us. Any donors that are giving to us that are not giving to the party did so on their own,” Davidson said. “We didn’t divert any donors. We did not divert money from the party to the new organization.”

The financial difficulties of the Alabama Democratic Party are hardly new. Most of the party’s current debt was accrued during former Gov. Don Siegelman’s failed 1999 education lottery campaign. Sam Gerard, president of UA College Democrats, said he believes Kennedy’s resignation did not so much create new problems as it reopened old wounds.

“I feel like the forming of the Alabama Democratic Majority did nothing to worsen the economic conditions,” Gerard said. “Kennedy leaving the Alabama Democratic Party to become the chair of the Alabama Democratic Majority just brought to light these conditions.”

In spite of present tension, the Alabama Democratic Majority still hopes to work with the Alabama Democratic Party to get Democratic candidates elected to office.

“We hope to be a partner organization,” Davidson said. “There are a lot of restrictions the party has on it that our organization does not, so we are freed up to do a lot of fund raising activity that the party can’t do.”

The Alabama Democratic Majority is not meant to be a new party, but its primary purpose will be to aid Democratic candidates through voter registration and other support roles.

“It’s not designed to be competition or meant to undermine the Alabama Democratic Party,” Gerard said. “It’s more meant to create a support network.”

However, collaboration between the two organizations seems to be a distant prospect.

“It’s questionable, at least in my mind, if someone takes your intellectual property, in terms of your email addresses, that the party had built up through the years, [like] your donor list, your Facebook account,” Worley said. “If somebody steals that, they’re certainly not telling me that they want to partner with the Alabama Democratic Party.”

The Alabama Democratic Party’s Executive Board will meet June 1 to select a new party chair. Davidson said the Alabama Democratic Majority hopes the new chairman of the state party will be someone who is more open to the new organization.

“We hope that when they elect a new chair on June 1, that that chairman or chairwoman, whoever he or she may be, is a willing and trusting partner with the Democratic Majority,” Davidson said.


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