Yates Goes Local
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.