Meet the New Chair, same as the Old Chair
As predicted by this blog on Thursday, Joe Turnham has been elected as the new state party chair for the Alabama Democrats. Turnham had the support of 142 of the 170 State Democratic Executive Committee members present. Though a seemingly large number of members did not attend (around 100 didn't show), Turnham's vote total actually accounts for a majority of the full committee and not just the actual attendees. State Rep. Richard Lindsey came to the conclusion we reached on Thursday:
State Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, said Turnham won because he entered the race early, while Jones didn't get in until two weeks ago, when Turnham had already lined up many commitments.
We're impressed with Turnham's landslide and a little suprised that the Siegelman machine wasn't able to marshall more support for Jones. Is this a sign of things to come as active, loyal Democrats seem ready to embrace a new, Siegleman-free Democratic future? Judging by these results, Siegelman and his allies don't have the clout they used to. Now, I doubt that this vote will keep Siegelman out of the race, but it might give him a little pause to see his former base edging away from him.
However, this day belongs to Turnham, who received more good news with the announcement of a significant investment by the Democratic National Committee in the state party. Redding Pitt detailed the good news:
Pitt, the outgoing chairman, said he spent his last few weeks in office making sure the party is sound financially. He said the national Democratic Party is giving the Alabama party $700,000 to pay for three field organizers, a party communications director, and voter file maintenance through the 2008 elections.
So this should give Turnham a running start into the 2006 elections and maybe shield him from some of the fundraising woes that plauged both of his congressional campaigns. This blog has detailed some of the reasons why Turnham might not have been the best choice for Alabama Democrats, but he now has a chance to right old wrongs and change his legacy from that of an earnest loser to that of a victorious leader. We congratulate Joe Turnham.