Tyree Irving, a former judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals, said that 45 of the party’s newly elected executive committee members have pledged their support for him. Eight others have also told Mississippi Today they will vote for him. Irving stated, “I’ve just been hearing total disappointment, disillusionment and unhappiness regarding the current chair.” “… A majority of the people on the committee have stated they will vote for me. Since most don’t know me well, the driving force behind dissatisfaction is Mr. Moak’s lack of leadership and support for candidates. This was especially apparent in light of the party’s poor showing in the 2019 state elections. Republicans won all the statewide offices last ye, consolidating supermajority control over the state Legislature and increasing downticket wins at the local level. Some party elders also criticised Moak and the other party leaders for not focusing resources on electing Black candidates. This is despite the fact that white voters have been leaving the party in large numbers and Black voters are now a significant majority of the party base. Moak was one of six Democratic Party chairmen who were white in the past six years. Irving, who is Black, was among the members of the committee that called for change. They claimed that Moak delayed the party’s leadership elections after the new committee was elected in June. Irving supporters used a clause in the party constitution that allows 25% of members to petition for and call a special meeting. They called one for Saturday. Teresa Jones, a newly elected member of the committee, said that a new committee was being established and that there was no transfer of power or leadership. She helped to organize the special meeting. Bobby Moak is the one I blame for all of this. It’s your job as chair. This is especially true when there is a major candidate on November’s ballot. “He’s holding the committee hostage.” Moak called one on Thursday evening, just a few days after Saturday’s special petitioned meeting had been announced. Irving and others doubt that Moak properly called the meeting with the required 10-day notice via mail. Irving stated that Moak didn’t mail it to anyone opposed to him if he had. The meetings will also be held online, complicating matters. Mississippi Today received information from several members of the committee Tuesday afternoon. They said they hadn’t received login information for Thursday night’s meeting and were worried that members might not have the technical skills necessary to log in and vote. Moak, the party chairman since 2016, claimed that his meeting was properly called and observed and that misinformation has been spread. Moak, who has been the party chairman since 2016, said that much of the internal conflict was due to “drama” and “party politics”. Moak, 62 years old, is a former state lawmaker, former leader of House minority, and long-standing member of the House. “There’s more drama here than there was when we were leader of the Democratic caucus. In the House,” said Moak, 62. Former Chairman of the Democratic Party in state Jamie Franks is now party parliamentarian and was recently elected to the state committee. According to Franks, both meetings should be called properly. Franks stated Monday that no one has asked him for a ruling. Franks stated that he has never been asked for a ruling. The chairman won the meeting, provided that quorum requirements were met. Irving stated that his supporters will attend Moak’s Thursday virtual meeting, but they have kept their Saturday meeting in the archives in case of an unexpected outcome. Irving stated that he plans to attend the meeting (Moak called) as well as encourage everyone else to do so. “If we are treated well and the process is fair, and there is an election, that’s the end of it,” Irving said. Moak stated, “We’ll be able to tell when the vote comes.” “There are those who love me and others that hate me. This is what I have been doing for 36 years. It’s not new.” Irving, 74-year-old Greenwood native, was elected to Mississippi Court of Appeals 1998 and reelected in 2002. In 2018, he retired. Irving was the first African American to serve as a clerk on the Mississippi Supreme Court’s 1975 bench. He also became the first African American assistant U.S. Attorney in Mississippi since Reconstruction in 1978. Irving spoke with Mississippi Today this week and stated that “My vision for this state is turning it blue.” “I have always been optimistic and forward-looking, believing that we can accomplish our goals despite all odds. “We need to create a good messaging program and convince many white Mississippians that their economic interests are being harmed by their voting choices. It’s not an easy task. Problem is the lack of white leadership. They have failed to succeed if they tried. Irving said, “They have been running away with the national party all of the time — at most the white politicians in the recent past.” If we want to build this party, and win the statewide elections, we have to change that culture.” Moak recently detailed his achievements in an email he sent back to address complaints from a top Democratic officer. This week, he referred to the letter as his statement to Mississippi Today. Moak stated that the party had provided much organized support to candidates in recent election cycles, created unprecedented social media outreach, and achieved fundraising success. Moak stated that the party’s financial situation is stable after resolving the same issues that put it in receivership in the past. “The people who got us there want to lead again, and that is a concern. “… Moak stated that he personally raised over $150,000 for both the state party and national party. “… The first time that $80,000 was returned to the county parties for rebuilding was in 2009, Moak stated. “The party now has the chance to have a Finance Council again with real monied supporters who left years ago because they were dissatisfied with the way the party was run.” Moak stated that the party’s email lists have increased from 3,500 to 69,000868 and that its phone list has been expanded to include over 1.2 million additional cell phone numbers. Moak wrote in an email, “I could go on and on but you get the point.” “The party was saved from financial ruin. It has earned respect from the DNC and local people that thought they would not come this way again.” However, many party loyalists, such as executive committee members, openly questioned Moak’s leadership in this year’s election. Moak has been subject to public criticism over how he spent the four-year-old money. Many experienced political operatives have criticised Moak’s attention to email and telephone lists. Jones said that Moak and his party leadership “have failed us.” You had a Democratic stronghold here, and you failed me. This state has a whole new generation of young people trying to find ways to move forward. We now have to deal with their failures – their financial failures and campaign failures. Jones said, “If you are truly working for the party, do something to help the party.” Jones said, “But don’t get pissed off when you get called out or voted out of office.” You can support this work by making a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today. This will allow us to continue important work such as this one.