The Mississippi Democratic Party headquarters in Jackson. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Tyree Irving sued the Mississippi Democratic Party this week, claiming he was improperly ousted in July after 46 members of the party’s 80-member executive committee voted to remove him from his post.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Hinds County Chancery Court, asked a judge to prevent party officials from conducting official meetings, to reinstate him as leader of the party and to restrict current Democratic Party Chairman Cheikh Taylor from operating as the organization’s leader.

Those requests from Irving, which would require a judge’s order to be fulfilled, come less than two months before the statewide and legislative election in which dozens of Democrats are on the ballot.

“Plaintiffs further allege, based on information and belief, that Defendant (Cheikh) Taylor will continue to take actions, without proper authority, that will be injurious to the well-being and long-term interests and development of the Party if injunctive relief is not granted expeditiously,” the lawsuit reads.

The Mississippi Democratic Party executive committee convened a meeting in July and voted to remove Irving, a former state appellate judge, after Mississippi Today published emails that he had sent Democratic National Committee staffers. One of Irving’s emails, in particular, was filled with personal attacks of the state party’s No. 2 leader.

READ MORE: Mississippi Democrats vote to remove leader, appoint new one in wild emergency meeting

Party leaders at the time feared Irving’s comments would jeopardize a $250,000 commitment the national party had made to the state party during the key election year. So they voted to remove Irving from office and replace him with Taylor, a House member from Oktibbeha County.

In the lawsuit, Irving alleges that the meeting was improperly called, and he was not given the proper advance notice about his potential ouster that’s afforded to him under the state Democratic Party’s constitution.

Taylor told Mississippi Today in a statement that Irving is attempting to halt party business because “his fellow executive committee members held him accountable for his crude behavior and inaction,” and that he will not let “petty personal politics” distract him from the ongoing statewide election.

“The Mississippi Democratic Party is focused on moving forward, electing Democrats up and down the ticket in this incredibly important election year, and building a better future for our party and for our state,” Taylor said.

As of Thursday at noon, neither Taylor nor the 37 other named defendants — all members of the party’s executive committee — had responded to the complaint in court.

The case has been assigned to Chancellor Tiffany Grove, and she has not yet issued any rulings or set a hearing about the complaint. 

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Taylor, a native of Grenada, covers state government and statewide elections. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and Holmes Community College. Before joining Mississippi Today, Taylor reported on state and local government for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, where he received an award for his coverage of the federal government’s lawsuit against the state’s mental health system.