MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The chairman of the Democratic National Committee said state Democrats should follow their recently adopted bylaws and urged the state party chair to get on board with them.
DNC Chair Tom Perez delivered the message in a letter Saturday to Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley. Perez told Worley that a set of bylaws adopted Oct. 5 by a group of state committee members was properly called and is "binding on the party." Worley has contended the Oct. 5 meeting was illegitimate.
The rebuke from Perez is the latest twist in the ongoing power struggle that has split the party's governing board into two factions — a reform group whose actions have been blessed by the DNC and committee members aligned with Worley and Joe Reed, the party's vice-chair of minority affairs.
Worley held a separate meeting on Oct. 12 in which different bylaws were adopted. Perez said the actions at the Oct. 12 meeting were not cleared by the DNC.
The dueling meetings came after the DNC directed the Alabama party to hold new elections for chair and vice chair and update bylaws to provide for the representation of more minorities in the party and not just African Americans.
The Oct. 5 bylaws set up diversity caucuses to nominate Hispanics, LGBTQ individuals, young voters and others to the governing board known as the State Democratic Executive Committee.
Perez asked Worley to encourage all Democrats to attend a Nov. 2 meeting that will use the Oct. 5 bylaws to fill vacant positions and hold elections for chair and vice-chair.
Perez said then the "State Party can turn attention to increasing the number of Democrats in Alabama" and to "fully and effectively conduct Party affairs in connection with the critical 2020 elections."
Worley said Monday that she has not seen the letter which was copied to several other Democrats. But she criticized the directives by national party officials and said the changes would "cut back minority representation for Blacks" in the party.
"Democrats can win elections in the South, but the DNC can't dictate the model to win here," Worley wrote in a text message.
DNC officials have warned the state party that failure to comply with orders on bylaws and leadership could cost them seats at the 2020 party convention in Milwaukee.