MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The chairman of the Democratic National Committee is backing plans to elect new leadership and rewrite rules to increase diversity for Alabama’s beleaguered Democratic Party.
A statement filed in court by the head of the national party, Tom Perez, said a party meeting planned for Saturday to elect new leaders complies with rules approved by the DNC.
The current chairwoman of the party, Nancy Worley, and others have filed suit to block the meeting. They contend it would be improper.
Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin is considering their request after a hearing held Thursday.
Any decision he releases could wind up before the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court.
Insurgents seeking new leadership and party rules are aligned with Alabama’s only Democratic statewide officeholder, Sen. Doug Jones. Jones has said he supports state Rep. Chris England for chair.
Alabama likely won’t get to send representatives to the Democratic National Convention next year without changes approved by the national party, Perez said in the statement.
Upstarts have adopted rules backed by national leaders to increase diversity in the state party, in which black caucus chairman Joe Reed, a vice chairman who serves with Worley, has been a major player for decades.
Blacks under the age of 35 make up more than a third of the party’s electorate but are effectively shut out of leadership since they make up only 3% of the state executive committee, Perez said.
Rules adopted at an Oct. 5 party meeting that Worley and her allies skipped would increase the voice of LGBTQ people, ethnic minorities and young people in the party, Perez wrote in the document.