By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, August 22, 2017, Birmingham voters went to the polls to vote for Mayor, City Council, and School Board. Over 60 percent of the mayoral voters voted for change. Incumbent Mayor William Bell (D) was in second place receiving just 37 percent of the votes cast, as of press time. Anthony Woodfin received 41 percent of the votes cast.
Chris Woods finished third with 18 percent of the vote. The always outspoken Frank Mathews finished in a distant fourth place with just one percent of the vote.
As of press time, Randall Woodfin had 15,656 votes; William Bell has 14,011, Chris Woods had 6,957, and Frank Matthews finished fourth with 531 votes. The other eight candidates trailed that.
At his election night event, Mayor Bell told supporters, “Lets get rested. Lets get ready and we’re going to rock and roll for the runoff.”
At his victory party Randall Woodfin told reporters that he and his campaign will take what they have done over the last year and do that within six weeks.
Attorney Randall Woodfin surprised many political insiders when his campaign bested Bell’s in the city election. Municipal elections are non-partisan in Alabama so this is the election rather than a party primary. Bell and Woodfin will face each other in an October 6 runoff election.
Woodfin said on social media, “This is not about change for change sake. This is about progress for everyone that lives in our city.”
Woodfin is a Shades Valley High School Graduate. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Morehouse and a law degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law.
Bell has a divided history with runoff elections. In 1999 Bell, who rose to Mayor when then Mayor Richard Arrington retired before the end of his term, narrowly missed a runoff with 49 percent of the vote. He was defeated in the following runoff by City Councilman Bernard Kincaid. In another Mayor’s race Bell was also in second place, but won the mayor’s race in the runoff. Bell was first elected in 1979.
Of the nine Birmingham City Council members, one did not seek re-election, two face runoffs, and as of press time six are returning. Most of the school board is not returning. Two face runoff elections.
Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city with just over 200,000 residents. The Birmingham-Hoover metro area is the largest in the state. Nearly one out of four Alabamians live in the metro area.