Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Red shift

Redding Pitt, one of Alabama's two political party leaders with a quirky name, told the Mobile Register on Tuesday that he will resign as Alabama Democratic Party chairman later this year. Pitt survived calls for his ouster last year after his party was trounced in the state judicial races, but upon further consideration, he decided to hand over the reins to someone else before 2006.

Republicans have seen growing electoral success in Alabama since Pitt became chairman in 2001, capturing the governor's office, consolidating their hold over the judiciary, and cutting into Democrats' legislative majority. But correlation doesn't imply causation; greater responsibility for those results likely lies with President Bush's coattail effect in the state and the national Democratic Party's relative neglect of its Southern affiliates for the last few years, a situation new Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean has pledged to remedy.

No word yet on who will succeed Pitt in what a state Democratic Executive Board member called a "thankless job," but the party's executive director says communication skills are a must.

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