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Just two days ago I posted a diary about Rep. Jo Bonner resigning and raising the point about whether or not the Democratic Party would target Alabama's 1st Congressional District in the upcoming special election.

Here's information on the challenges the AL-01 Congressional District present for Democrats if they want to nominate a challenger:

DAPHNE, Alabama — The campaign to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner of Mobile has begun one day after he announced he would step down in August to take a job with the University of Alabama System.

Republican state Rep. Randy Davis of Daphne said Friday that he will run in the 1st District race. Davis says the district "needs a conservative trench fighter who will stare down the D.C. liberals."

Davis is a retired educator who is serving his third term in the Legislature.
Probable replacements include first term State Senator Bill Hightower, former State Senator Bradley Byrne, and State Representative Chad Fincher.

Local 15 has also talked with Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey, State Senator Tripp Pittman, Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon, Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson, and Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran. All have said they have not ruled out a run, but are discussing the possibility with family and friends.

And sadly, the Democratic Party is becoming a bunch of wimps by deciding to not get involved in the AL-01 race.  Way to go for party building!

A House Democratic aide confirmed they have no plans to compete in this district, where President Barack Obama received 37 percent.
Well, there may be an even bigger question why the Democratic Party is not getting involved in the AL-01 district special election race.  As I was doing some research of what the Alabama Democratic Party had to say about Rep. Jo Bonner's resignation, the state party is going through serious turmoil right now and it ain't pretty:

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Acting state Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Worley lowered her head and slowly shook it side to side when summing up the financial condition of her once powerful party.

"We're broke, broke, broke," Worley told the party's Executive Board in a special called meeting Friday.

How broke is broke? Worley didn't sugar coat the answer.

"This is my 18th day as chair and thirty minutes after I took over on April 22nd the landlord of the building where our party headquarters are came in and said he wanted us out, that the rent was overdue and was always overdue," said Worley.

Oh crap.  And it gets worse.
Next came the water company with a message, said Worley: pay up by the next day or we're cutting off the water. Next came the same warning from Alabama Power. Next came news from banks that party credit cards had been maxed out and were now cancelled.

"I didn't even know where the checkbook was, not that it would have made much difference," said Worley.

Worley said she dealt with each demand for back payments the same way.

"I begged them to give me a few more days, that I had just taken over the job and needed a little time" said Worley. "I have never done that much begging in my life."

And if you thought that was bad.  Oh boy, you haven't heard anything yet.
Madison County Democratic Party Chair Clete Wetli says this week Worley made comments, on the record, about the state party being past due on rent and maxed out on their credit cards.

"This debt goes back a long time. It really started I believe back in 1999. The current state of the state party is a debt of about $496,000," Wetli said.

This comes after a recent Alabama Democratic Party meeting:

So the cash flow and debt problems are what's eating up the state party.  But of course, being in a deep red state, the Alabama Democratic Party has other challenges:

The Alabama Democratic Conference held its annual meeting this weekend, and one of the biggest topics--how Democrats can attract more Democratic voters in a state dominated by Republicans.

"Somebody's gotta articulate to the Democratic voters, white voters particular, on why it's beneficial to them to be in the Democratic party," said Joe Reed, Alabama Democratic Conference Chairman

But that's an uphill battle in a state where no Democrat holds a statewide office. Republicans had many victories in the 2013 legislative session, including passage of Alabama's Accountability Act, which gives tax credits for parents who transfer their children from failing public schools to private schools, a law which outraged Alabama Democrats.

Now Democrats say the only way to put their policies back in place is to convince Alabama voters that their policies are better for the average Alabamian.

For the GOP in Alabama, they aren't convinced the Democrats can persuade voters in the state:

However, Alabama GOP leaders say conservative policies are what Alabamians want. "Democrats lost control of the legislature because that's what Alabama voters wanted. If they want to retake control, they need to find a way to reconnect with the voters," said Representative Dick Brewbaker, a Republican.
And even this former Democratic Congressman back in 2009 bailed out of the Democratic Party.  No, he wasn't would-be Democrat Artur Davis:

Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday that he's switching parties – saying he can no longer align himself “with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy and drives us further and further into debt.”

“Unfortunately there are those in the Democratic Leadership that continue to push an agenda focused on massive new spending, tax increases, bailouts and a health care bill that is bad for our healthcare system,” Griffith said in a statement. “I have always considered myself to be an independent voice and I have tried to be that voice in Congress – but after watching this agenda firsthand I now believe that the differences in the two parties could not be more clear and that for me to be true to my core beliefs and values I must align myself with the Republican party and speak out clearly on these issues.

But one wonders if maybe Parker Griffith himself, not in Congress anymore, really understands the GOP in Alabama or if he's just simply a contradiction to himself:
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Parker Griffith, who famously jumped to the Republican Party as a freshman in Congress, said this week that it's not easy being a Republican.

He said the GOP within Alabama often appears a “safe harbor for mean-spiritedness” and that the in-fighting in Washington has the national Republican Party falling apart like “a snowball headed to hell.”

Yet he said he has no regrets about switching parties, that the national Democratic Party is too liberal and not interested in protecting jobs in Alabama. Plus, he said, he could foresee the Democratic Party within Alabama failing at the polls.

"I am a man without a country,” said Griffith during a long talk about politics on Monday.

What do you guys think?  Will the Alabama Democratic Party ever get reborn?

Originally posted to Knowledge Democrats on Sat May 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by State & Local ACTION Group.


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