Birmingham Mayor William Bell will find out next month whether he’ll serve a third term. He and former school board president Randall Woodfin will face each other in an October 3 runoff.
Woodfin was one of 12 vying for the mayor’s seat Tuesday. He won 41 percent of the vote; Bell trailed with 37 percent at last count with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
More than 100 Bell supporters gathered at 4 Seasons, a club in downtown Birmingham, as votes were tallied. Jessie Lewis, former publisher of The Birmingham Times, said he’d been a long-time supporter of Bell. His reason? “Simply because he’s the best qualified candidate in this race,” he said.
Meanwhile, supporters of the 36-year-old Woodfin gathered in Southside at Haven, an event venue. Woodfin’s campaign called the event a “victory party” from the start. “Woodfin is young,” supporterBrandon Parnell of Ensley said. “And he’ll look out for all ends of the age spectrum. “He’s very supportive of the younger generation and also the senior citizens in our communities.”
Rod Reisner, another Woodfin supporter, has lived in Birmingham for more than 20 years. He said he supports the city’s revitalization, but he’s ready for new leadership. “We’ve been encouraged for Bell’s revitalization,” he said, “and we’re ready for some new blood and some new energy in the city.”
Earlier in the night, Reisner predicted Woodfin had a good chance of beating Bell, who has held the office since 2010.
The City Council will remain relatively the same, after most residents voted to keep their incumbents in office. But there are three runoffs to watch: In District 5, incumbent Johnathan Austin will face Darrell O’Quinn; District 2’s incumbent Kim Rafferty will go against Hunter Williams; District 9 incumbent Roderick Royal will square off with challenger John Hilliard.
In a key Birmingham Board of Education race, political newcomer Mary Boehm handily beat former school Superintendent Larry Contri for the District 3 seat. Contri has had a rocky recent history with the school board. For more background, read this and this.