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Internal squabbling leads to...

Internal squabbling leads to resignation of Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman

By: Frank Corder - July 3, 2023

Tyree Irving

It is nearly exactly three years to the day when similar calls for change at the top of the state’s Democratic Party were made that placed Irving at the helm.

The Mississippi Democratic Party will soon have a new leader after Chairman Tyree Irving announced on Sunday that he was stepping down from the post. Irving’s decision to resign comes as members of the party’s state executive committee forced an emergency meeting for later this week to consider his ouster.

It is nearly exactly three years to the day when similar calls for change at the top of the state’s Democratic Party were made that placed Irving at the helm.

The move follows the release of emails given to Mississippi Today that revealed an internal struggle between Irving and the party’s executive director Andre Wagner. The internal squabbling is related to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sending the state party $250,000. The funds were reportedly to be used to support Democratic candidates in the 2023 and 2024 election cycles. Irving emailed the DNC following a call, urging the DNC to make an “equal investment” into Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley’s campaign. Wagner then sought to clarify Irving’s comments, which Irving took issue with in a subsequent email exchange.

In a letter first reported by SuperTalk, Irving pointed to the stress of the “false and misleading information” surrounding recent events as a reason for his resignation. He will step down on July 22nd.

“The past week has been very stressful for me, and especially my family, due to the circulation of false and misleading information impugning my name and reputation, while we are trying to plan for a successful election this year,” Irving states in the letter. “Regrettably, today I must inform you of my intent to resign as Chairman, effective at midnight, July 22, 2023.”

Irving came to lead the Mississippi Democratic Party three years ago amidst internal conflict that resulted in then-Chairman Bobby Moak seeing his term end unceremoniously. In June 2020, a letter signed by former Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole and others said Moak had failed the party members in “both transparency and trust” in what they called a grossly mishandled election process of at-large members and mismanagement of the State Convention process. The group demanded a meeting of the newly-elected State Executive Committee no later than July 11th to address their concerns. Cole then took to Facebook where he advocated for Irving to be named the party’s chairman.

“I believe it is time to make changes in the leadership, and toward that end I will be casting my vote for Judge Tyree Irving for state Chairman at the upcoming meeting of the state executive committee,” Cole wrote in July 2020. “I believe Judge Irving will lead us in a new direction toward a better day.  He is the right man to lead us in a re-imagining of our party in these rapidly changing times.”

Now, with Irving following Moak’s demise, the Democratic state executive committee will meet to select yet another chairman as Republicans continue to grow their base and expand on their wins at the local and state level. That chairman, according to the Democratic Party, must be a current member of its executive committee and win a majority of the committee’s 80 votes.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: