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Friday, October 21, 2005

Yates Goes Local

Former Civil Appeals Judge Sharon Yates may have been ousted by Republican Tommy Bryan in the 2004 GOP sweep of state judicial races, but she is already preparing for a comeback. But instead of running statewide (as Yates has done three of the last four election cycles), she has her sights set on a district judgeship in Montgomery.

Yates will take on incumbent Republican judge Lucie McLemore in what should be a close race. I am surprised that Yates has chosen to run in this local race instead of trying to reclaim a seat somewhere on the state judiciary. While Yates was no doubt discouraged by her 2004 loss, 2006 should be a much more friendly environment for Democratic candidates.

Even though she lost, Yates led the Democratic ticket in 2004 by claiming 48% of the vote. Certainly without the baggage of a presidential race, Yates could ease her way back onto one of the Appeals Courts. Yet for whatever reason, she is letting the torch pass to a new batch of Democratic candidates.

Yates' decision to bypass the state judiciary highlights a growing problem for Alabama Democrats. Though 2006 is likely to provide a much more friendlier climate for Democratic judicial candidates than we've seen in several years, the Dems only have candidates in 4 of the 11 judicial seats up for elections this cycle. The GOP, on the other hand, already has declared candidates for every seat. (You can track the state judicial races on the Alabama Elections Directory)

I am sure Democrats will field viable candidates for most, if not all, of these races. But as they are on the verge of being completely shut out of the state judicial process, Democrats need to show a little more urgency. Democrats won't be able to even the score, unless they field a team.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrats' problem is that they cannot compete with the GOP in terms of raising money for statewide judicial races. The Business Council is always flush with cash to provide to designated Republican candidates. Meanwhile, the Democrats' money base, the trial lawyers, have beome somewhat of a toothless tiger in recent years. They can't finance more than two or so spots in the upcoming Supreme Court races.

4:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only way yates can beat mclemore is by selling justice to blacks.

11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real reason she's running for this instead of appeals court is that the population shifts in Montgomery County over the last 4 years, caused mainly by white flight, make it a much, much simpler race than a statewide campaign, and with about the same salary.

11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two republican circuit court judges lost in montgomery county last election; looks like its more of a sure thing to go local. yates is well known in montgomery, and the pay would probably be nearly the same.

Mclemore is rumored to be considering a Court of civils appeals seat run....

8:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Yates will do a remarkable job. Her record of fairness and integrity will be a welcome change after Judge McLemore's unimpressive tenure.

1:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yates did a good job on the civil appeals court, but I was surprised she running for district judge. Many did not know what to expect from Judge McLemore in her first term. She has proven to be committed to following the law and giving everyone a fair trial. I expect McLemore will be re-elected, eventhough Yates is well-known.

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