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Municipal elections

Poll: Reed holds commanding lead in Montgomery mayoral race

With less than three weeks until the Aug. 22 election, Reed’s numbers look strong.

Mayor of Montgomery Steven Reed launching his re-election campaign at Gateway Park. JOHN H. GLENN/APR
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With less than three weeks to go before the Montgomery mayoral election, Mayor Steven Reed holds a commanding lead in the race and voters hold a positive view of both Reed and the job he’s done leading the city, according to a recent poll obtained by APR. 

The polling from Impact Research, which polled 500 likely voters in Montgomery and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent, showed Reed with a 24-point advantage over his closest competitor and winning the four-person mayor’s race without a runoff. In a head-to-head matchup with his closest challenger, Reed holds a 22-point lead. 

“Mayor Reed leads in all polls and there are many reasons why,” said Chip Hill, Reed’s campaign chief. Hill has taken a leave of absence from his position as Reed’s chief of staff in order to work with the campaign for the final three weeks. 

“(Reed) has put more money into our police and fire departments than any Mayor in history,” Hill went on. “Montgomery leads the state in every economic category. Gov. Ivey called Montgomery’s growth ‘staggering,’ and we invested in our schools for the first time in 30 years.”

Reed’s favorability and name recognition numbers, along with his job approval, leave his opponents with a very steep climb. Reed got a 57 percent favorability rating and more than 90 percent of respondents knew his name. More than half – 52 percent – were happy with the job the mayor has done in his first term.   

“Montgomery was named the top military communities in the state and second in the nation,” Hill said. “People remember what Montgomery was like before Mayor Reed and who it was that let our city suffer. The people also see who is funding our opponents – a small group of good old boys that used to call all the shots. It’s obvious to the whole world that with Mayor Reed, Montgomery is well on its way to becoming a major American city success story.”

Only one of Reed’s opponents, Barrett Gilbreath, has been well funded. Gilbreath, who bills himself as an entrepreneur, has landed support from a small group of local businessmen and has essentially positioned himself as the white candidate. 

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Gilbreath’s ads thus far have been short on specific plans for addressing the problems in Montgomery but lean heavily into inflammatory rhetoric about safety and danger. For example, recent op-ed from Gilbreath published on a rightwing website conjured images of white children being accosted at stop lights.     

The ads have done little to improve Gilbreath’s name recognition among voters. Of the likely voters surveyed by Impact Research, 61 percent had never heard of Gilbreath. However, more respondents answered that they were willing to vote for Gilbreath than were familiar with him. 

Reed, in the meantime, got high marks from respondents for job growth, city finances and the city’s relationship with Maxwell Air Force Base.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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