Wade on Birmingham

Vote 2007: Langford vs. Cooper vs. eight losers


Polls are open: It’s time to pick a mayor in Birmingham.

Ten candidates are vying for the title, including the incumbent, Bernard Kincaid. Surprisingly, 10 is a far smaller field than past years: 1999 had 14 candidates, and 2003 had 18(!) memorable names, like That Guy, and That Other Guy.

cooper langfordThe Birmingham News’ poll indicates that Larry Langford (right) and Patrick Cooper (left) are headed for the runoff, while the other eight candidates, including two-termer Kincaid, have no chance.

With 18 percent undecided and a 4.9 percentage point margin of error, should we trust the results?

pollThe newspaper’s polls for the last two mayoral races nailed both the general elections and runoffs. The 1999 polls accurately predicted William Bell and Kincaid would head to a runoff as first and second, and then predicted Kincaid would overtake Bell in the runoff in 1999. The 2003 poll predicted a 1-2 finish for Kincaid and Carole Smitherman, who also ended up in a runoff.

In this year’s poll, Smitherman and Bell are barely blips, as is the current mayor.

In the funding race, Langford has pulled in more than half of his campaign money ($65,000) from PACs, while Cooper has led in overall contributions (more than $380,000).

Langford, currently serving on the Jefferson County Commission and former mayor of Fairfield, rankles as much as he inspires. You’re either with him or against him — and you definitely know who he is. Cooper remains an enigma despite his earnestness: Can he lead? Can he navigate the political minefield of City Hall and racial camps? Does he have any support in the black community? Or will he be mired in process and council bickering?

The News endorsed Cooper:

“What Cooper lacks in experience, he makes up for with energy and enthusiasm. He ought to be able to handle the learning curve in the mayor’s office and quickly get up to speed. We believe he can become a fine mayor.”

Still, with consistently low voter turnouts (and a shrinking city population to boot), it comes down to herding precious supporters to the polls before 7 tonight. Should a runoff be necessary, it’ll take place Oct. 30.

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Complete Vote 2007 coverage.

2 Yips for “Vote 2007: Langford vs. Cooper vs. eight losers”

  1. pretty helmet
    Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 2:47 pm

    if langford wins i will be moving far away. and if he doesn’t al lapierre will be moving far away. it is a win-win!

  2. Wade
    Tuesday, October 9, 2007, 7:31 pm

    Start packing – Langford’s leading in early returns.

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