Alabama Young Dems Focus: Re-Elect Doug Jones

Janae Pierre, WBHM

Young Democrats gear up for a training session during the national conference in Birmingham.

The Young Democrats of America wrapped up their national conference in Birmingham Sunday. More than 200 Democrats participated in training sessions to help organize in red states like Alabama. The conference left young Democrats across the state hopeful about the 2020 election.

Alabama Young Democrats were easy to spot at this weekend’s conference, which took place at the Sheraton Birmingham, many wearing U.S. Senator Doug Jones campaign buttons.

Robert Mardis III, president of Birmingham Young Democrats, says Jones can win the U.S. Senate seat again if he can connect with all Alabamians.

“And actually stay true to a message that resonates between not just black folks, not just Democrats, but with Alabama as a whole,” he says. “Because even though we’re Democrats and Republicans, we do have some similarities that will spark our interest to get us engaged.”

Mardis says their priorities include the elimination of student loan debt and climate change. That’s why, he says, he supports Bernie Sanders for president. 

“Southern states are going to be the states that are more affected by climate change at a more rapid rate,” he says. “So that’s why I support Bernie overall.”

Adarris May of Birmingham planned to vote for Kamala Harris next year. She ended her campaign last week. He hasn’t decided which presidential candidate he’ll support next, but for now, May says his priority is to re-elect Senator Doug Jones. 

“We’ve been on defense, our party in the state for a long time,” he says. “I think now finally with our senator and our representatives working for us, I think that we’re going to actually be able to accomplish a lot of things here.”

Josh Coleman, president of the Alabama Young Democrats, says this weekend’s conference taught Democrats how to better organize — not just in blue cities like Birmingham, but in rural areas, too. He says that will be key to re-electing Democratic lawmakers like Jones. 

“We need to knock on doors, we need to make phone calls. We need to make people aware of what the senator is doing, what he’s done for folks in Alabama,” he says.

Coleman says the party has a lot of work to do in Alabama, but turning the state purple isn’t impossible. 

More Alabama Democrats 2019 Coverage

Alabama Democrats Under New Leadership As Legal Battles Loom

This past weekend, members of the state Democratic Executive Committee removed party chair Nancy Worley and elected state Rep. Chris England chair instead. Worley sued to stop the meeting from happening, but ultimately the Alabama Supreme Court allowed it to go on. An attorney for the faction that pushed for new leadership says looming legal battles are not a cause for concern.

Doug Jones Says He’s Not Attacking the State Democratic Party, He’s Rebuilding It

U.S. Senator Doug Jones says he is trying to rebuild the Alabama Democratic Party, not destroy it. That’s in response to criticism leveled at him by state party chairwoman Nancy Worley. It’s also the latest turn in a leadership fight that’s embroiled Alabama Democrats.

Alabama Democrats Face a Deadline for New Bylaws and Elections

The Alabama Democratic Party is in the midst of a leadership crisis. The party must approve a new set of bylaws and elect new leaders by Saturday. But many observers say it looks like state Democrats will blow the deadline.

Young Democrats Hold Presidential Debate Watch Party

Several of the candidates have visited Alabama in the last two months, but most have not. The president of the group Birmingham Young Democrats says while many in attendance may be leaning toward a particular candidate already, the debates give them a chance to consider the full slate.

More Alabama Democrats 2019 Coverage