Representative Chris England running for chair of Democratic Party

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Chris England

State Rep. Chris England of Tuscaloosa said Monday that he is running for chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party.

The Tuscaloosa legislator has been one of the leading advocates for changes in how the state party is run. England first made the announcement Sunday night on Twitter. He joins former congressional candidate Tabitha Isner and lieutenant governor candidate Will Boyd, who have already announced bids for party chair.

England said the party needs to rebuild its deteriorated infrastructure and do more to welcome voters into the party’s “big tent.”

“I think I can play a role in bringing those folks into our big tent and then hopefully we all work together to build a functional, diverse and competitive Democratic Party,” England said in a telephone interview.

An ongoing struggle has split the party’s governing board into two factions — a reform group whose actions have been blessed by the Democratic National Committee and members aligned with current chairwoman Nancy Worley and Joe Reed, the party’s vice chairman of minority affairs.

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 and underrepresented groups in the party and not just African Americans.

England led an Oct. 5 meeting in which a faction of the State Democratic Executive Committee adopted new bylaws and planned a new election for chair. 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.

The group has scheduled a second meeting for Saturday to elect a chair.

Worley has argued the Oct. 5 meeting was illegitimate. She scheduled a different meeting where a different set of bylaws were approved.

The dispute appears likely to end up in court.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.