Scroll To Top

Democratic candidate calls for end to election challenge

Democratic candidate calls for end to election challenge

The lesbian victor in the Democratic runoff for a legislative seat in Alabama called on the party Wednesday to throw out a contest challenging her victory, claiming it was wrongly funded by a powerful black party leader who wants a black to win the position. Patricia Todd, a white woman seeking to become the first openly gay member of the Alabama legislature, said party vice-chairman Joe Reed personally paid for a challenge filed on behalf of her black opponent, Gaynell Hendricks.

Reed, longtime chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference, the party's black caucus, denied that he or the ADC paid the contest fee for Hendricks. Before Todd's 59-vote win over Hendricks on July 18, Reed distributed a letter in which he urged black leaders to support Hendricks because of her race.

After the vote, Todd said, Reed paid the party's fee to consider a challenge filed by Hendricks's mother-in-law. State party rules require that whoever challenges an election pay the fee, Todd said at a news conference. "I cannot stand by as one person, Dr. Joe Reed, attempts to hold the Alabama Democratic Party hostage just because he doesn't like the outcome of the race in District 54," she said.

In a telephone interview later, Reed disputed Todd's accusations. "Mrs. Hendricks paid her own as far as I know," said Reed, who is also the number 2 official at the Alabama Education Association.

Jim Spearman, executive director of the state party, said a certified check for the challenge was delivered by Jerome Gray, field director of the ADC and a longtime associate of Reed. Gray and Hendricks both said the money came from Hendricks's account.

A mix-up over the membership of a five-person committee hearing the challenge resulted in the party delaying a hearing on the election Tuesday. Reed said he and the state Democratic chairman, Joe Turnham, discussed his sitting on the committee, but he declined. "I decided I didn't want to serve," said Reed. (AP)

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff