Leaders of the Mississippi Democratic Party has denied allegations that former party Chairman Tyree Irving filed in a September lawsuit and asked a judge to dismiss his complaint.
Irving, a former appeals court judge, sued the Democratic Party in September claiming he was improperly ousted in July after 46 members of the party’s 80-member executive committee voted to remove him.
The party, represented by Jackson-based attorney Gerald Mumford, wrote in a Nov. 7 response that Irving’s initial suit should be dismissed over procedural issues and rejected the assertions in his complaint.
Irving’s suit also 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.
The basis for the suit revolves around a July meeting the Mississippi Democratic Party executive committee convened where it voted to remove Irving, 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 on the state Democratic Party’s executive director.
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 statewide election. So they voted to remove Irving from office and replace him with Taylor, a state House member from Oktibbeha County.
In the lawsuit, Irving alleges that the meeting was improperly called and he was not given the proper notice about his potential ouster that’s afforded to him under the state party’s constitution.
Chancellor Tiffany Grove, the judge assigned to the case, has not issued any rulings or set a hearing about the complaint. If Grove were to grant Irving any type of relief, it could paralyze the party from functioning in the short-term.
Although Democratic candidates suffered a bruising defeat in the Nov. 7 statewide election, the party’s leadership in a Nov. 8 statement said it remained optimistic of the future and pledged to rebuild the organization’s infrastructure.
It read: “We have a chance to rebuild our party and create a modern apparatus: one that is nimble enough to respond to the short-term threats we face, can endure the very real long-term challenges facing our state and our country, and one that is ready to win some elections down the road.”
In the middle of the lawsuit and rebuilding its infrastructure, the party must prepare for the 2024 legislative session that begins in January and next year’s U.S. Senate race, where Republican incumbent Roger Wicker is up for reelection.