State Democratic Chairperson and former Secretary of State Nancy Worley’s denial that she didn’t receive notice of a deadline to certify candidates in the special Congressional election to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Congressman …
State Democratic Chairperson and former Secretary of State Nancy Worley’s denial that she didn’t receive notice of a deadline to certify candidates in the special Congressional election to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Congressman Jo Bonner just doesn’t pass the smell test. So what would have been a one day news story at most turned into another embarrassment for the dysfunctional State Party.
The story begins with the Democratic Party missing the qualifying deadline, a deadline which was known by most anyone who follows Alabama politics. Secretary of State Jim Bennett’s office contacted Worley after the noon deadline and allowed the two Democratic candidates access to the ballot.
Worley should have said “thank you” end of story, and the flub might not made the news. But instead Worley blamed the lack of communication on former chairman Mark Kennedy, who has since left, along with the entire staff to form a new democratic organization.
Worley claims that she didn’t receive any information about an impending deadline, because Kennedy had computers turned off and she was conducting all business using her personal email account.
“It’s hard to meet a noon certification deadline the day after a candidate filing ends when no one has told you the deadline,” said Worley.
Wrong answer, Nancy. For starters, a Party Chairperson and a former Secretary of State should have been aware of the deadline even without notification. Secondly, the Secretary of State’s office could prove, which it did, that they sent you notification to your ‘personal’ email account at 9:50 a.m. on July 29, a week before the deadline. Third, the governor’s legal staff had previously discussed the deadline with you, emailed you a copy of the deadline, and also had one delivered to the Democratic Party headquarters.
UNA to commemorate Gunn enrollment
On September 11-13, the University of North Alabama will commemorate the enrollment and graduation of Wendell Wilkie Gunn who became the third African American student to attend an Alabama college or university. Gunn’s enrollment followed the admission of Vivian Malone and James Hood to the University of Alabama on June 11 of 1965.
Unlike the scene at Tuscaloosa, there were no throngs of law enforcement needed and Gov. George Wallace did not show.
It was basically an uneventful day for the city of Florence, the home of what was then known as Florence State College.
I was a senior at the school that year and had just started work as a reporter for The Florence Times-Tri Cities Daily (now The Times/Daily). Dr. E. B. Norton was president of the school; both the newspaper and Dr. Norton, anticipating no problems, arranged to have a photograph made of Mr. Gunn, a native of Tuscumbia, enrolling which was published in the next day’s edition. That was it.
I later arranged to interview Wendell. Nancy, who was also in school at Florence State, and I had an apartment near the college so we invited Wendell over for one of her ham and rice casseroles shortly after he enrolled. I wrote the story and we offered it to the Associated Press where it went out on the AP wire. I was later told that it was on both the national and international wires.
Speaking at UNA in 2005, attorney Fred Gray, who defended Gunn, recalled that the hearing that ultimately integrated the school lasted only 10 minutes, after which Gunn returned to campus and enrolled successfully. Gray has described the situation as “the easiest case of my civil rights career.”
Gunn, who earned a degree from Florence State and an MBA from the University of Chicago, went on to a distinguished business career and was named a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan in 1982. He currently resides in Samford, Conn. He and I have talked occasionally over the last several years.
Bob Martin can be reached by email at:firstname.lastname@example.org