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FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Nancy Worley wrong person to lead Dems

State Republicans must be laughing hard at the predicament Democrats find themselves in on the eve of their big party meeting in Montgomery.

A three-way race for vice chairman ordinarily would be a healthy thing for a political party, but what's taking shape is a raw power play that could hurt Democrats in the next elections.

Amy Burks of Decatur is the longtime vice chairman and is seeking re-election. But former Decatur schoolteacher Nancy Worley, who lost her secretary of state office in November to Beth Chapman, also wants the job. Pat Edington, a former vice chairman, is also seeking the post.

Never mind that the two women with Decatur connections were once friends. Ms. Burks ran afoul of Joe Reed, who is the powerful leader of the black wing of the party. He wants her out for not supporting a black candidate over a white one in a disputed Jefferson County House race last year. The white candidate had the most votes in the mixed-race district.

He's supposedly supporting Ms. Worley, his long-time Alabama Education Association friend, as a way to reassert his authority within the party.

Why are Republicans laughing? It's at the thought of Ms. Worley in a party leadership role that requires compromise and keeping the political pot from boiling over.

Ms. Worley is a lightning rod. She attracts controversy the way molasses lures flies.

Ms. Burks has been in the No. 2 position for 16 years, quietly working with state and national Democrats on building the party.

Republicans would love nothing better than to see Democrats elect Ms. Worley. That's why they are laughing.

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