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Judge hears arguments in Alabama Democratic Party dispute

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FILE – In this July 9, 2007, file photo, former Alabama Secretary of State Nancy Worley arrives the Montgomery County Courthouse,in Montgomery, Ala. A dispute over control of the Alabama Democratic Party is headed to court. Alabama Democratic Party Chair Worley and others filed a lawsuit Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, seeking to stop a faction of the party’s governing committee from meeting this weekend to elect new leaders. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A judge heard arguments Thursday on a lawsuit that could help decide who controls Alabama’s Democratic Party.

Circuit Judge Greg Griffin gave lawyers time to submit additional documents, but issued no immediate decision on the suit, filed Wednesday by longtime party chair Nancy Worley and others. Any ruling is sure to be appealed.

The lawsuit seeks to block some members of the party’s governing committee from meeting Saturday to elect new leaders.

The suit contends the meeting would be illegal, a claim that supporters of new party leadership deny.

The legal fight comes as the party’s lone statewide officeholder, Sen. Doug Jones, faces a tough re-election battle.

The Democratic National Committee is siding with the upstart group that’s aligned with Jones rather than Worley and party vice chairman Joe Reed, the longtime head of the black caucus.

During a conference call Thursday with reporters, Jones said he goes “way, way back” with the family of state Rep. Chris England of Tuscaloosa, whom he said would make a “strong chair” of the state party.

England, a defendant in the lawsuit, said the meeting set for Saturday has been properly authorized.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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