Democrat Vaughan to Run for Appeals Court
Vaughan is a nationally recognized environmental law specialist and founder of WildLaw, an environmental law nonprofit. He is no neophyte to the public sector though, as he clerked for Chief Justice Bo Torbert and was as aide to Supreme Court Justice Hugh Maddox. His only previous experience in elective politics was a quixotic race against Perry Hooper, Jr. in 1994.
While environmental law may not be the traditional background of most Alabama judicial candidates, I don't think that the environment has to be a losing issue for Democrats, even in the South. Environmental issues, unlike other progressive causes such as gun control or controversial social issues, can be framed in a positive way for Southern Democrats.
If Democrats can link environmental regulation with safeguards for hunting and fishing habitats, they might be able to actually turn environmental protection into a positive. A Democrat who says he'll protect 2nd amendment rights and hunting and fishing lands might be an ideal candidate.
Of course Republicans will try to portray Vaughan an an environmental extremist, but if he has the requisite grit and savvy he should be able to launch an effective counter-offensive. And the $300,000 he's giving his campaign should be a good start.