State Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, has backtracked on plans to seek the top seat of Alabama’s Democratic Party, announcing last Friday she will keep her focus on the Senate.
In April, Figures announced her intention to run for the State Democratic Party chairmanship against the incumbent, former Alabama Secretary of State Nancy Worley. Unsuccessful congressional candidate and pastor Tabitha Isner and 2018 Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Will Boyd are also seeking the same position this year.
However, last week, Figures announced she had decided against entering the contest and isn’t planning to endorse any of the remaining candidates at this point.
“It is critical to have a chairman of the State Democratic Party who can serve in that capacity on a full-time basis,” Figures wrote. “After careful consideration, I feel that it is imperative that my voice and focus remain in the Senate and Alabama Legislature.”
Worley originally won another term leading Alabama’s minority party in August 2018, but the credentials committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ordered a new election for chair and vice-chair after receiving complaints about the process used in the initial one.
Those issues highlighted some fracturing within party from a contingent of Alabama Democrats unhappy with Worley’s leadership. United States Sen. Doug Jones, who is the party’s only statewide office holder, even echoed similar criticisms ahead of the election last August.
Currently, no firm date has been set for the second election. A representative from the state party told Lagniappe it’s expected to proceed once the DNC accepts the state party’s by laws, which the same DNC credentials committee ordered Alabama Democrats to review in 2018.
Among other things, the national party raised questions about whether the Alabama Democratic Party’s previous by-laws adequately protected groups such as Hispanics, Asians, young people, disabled persons and LGBTQ individuals.
In announcing her run earlier this year, Figures said she aimed to unify and “heal” the party, and despite reconsidering her bid for chairwoman, Figures says she’s still “dedicated to building the party” and providing any assistance that she can to her fellow Democrats in Alabama.
“This was a tough decision, because I received the support and encouragement from so many people,” Figures wrote in a June 14 press release. “Still, I will continue efforts to unify the party and help get qualified candidates elected across the state who will carry the message of the Democratic Party and be a voice for all people.”
Figures has served in Alabama’s Senate since 1997 and is a former delegate and at-large member of the DNC. In 2013, she was elected Senate Minority Leader — becoming the first female legislator to serve in a leadership position in the Alabama legislature.
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