Wade on Birmingham

Vote 2007: Mayor Langford, we presume


Larry Langford

Birmingham has a new mayor, and surprisingly, without a runoff.

Unofficial results show that Jefferson County commissioner Larry Langford beat nine other candidates, including incumbent Bernard Kincaid, to win today’s election outright by a hair. Langford earned 26,227 votes, for 50.33 percent — a 172 vote margin of victory. His closest competitor was attorney Patrick Cooper, who won 15,392 votes, for 29.54 percent of the vote.

Kincaid, who served for two terms, placed third with 4,234 votes, or 8.12 percent.

With 52,111 votes cast in the mayor’s race, the turnout was around 45 percent.

Cooper hasn’t conceded, saying during a TV interview that he would consider asking for a recount, given the very tight margin. Another factor to consider would be any uncounted absentee ballots.

Langford ran on the slogan “Let’s Do Something,” pitching a one-point plan to fight crime: putting criminals in jail. He claimed it would take a “crazy man” to lead Birmingham, and that he was just such a man. During a TV interview, he promised a whirlwind of activity in the first 100 days in office, mentioning that a domed stadium would show outsiders that the city could move forward on a major project.

This run marked his second try for the top office in Birmingham, after a failed run in 1979.

The day was marked by low voter turnout, somewhat hampered by confusion over polling places. City officials claimed mailed sample ballots provided correct locations, but up to 100 voters were turned away from one station due to confusion or miscommunication.

What should the new mayor tackle first? And should Cooper contest the results?

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Complete Vote 2007 coverage.

7 Yips for “Vote 2007: Mayor Langford, we presume”

  1. southtrek
    Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 8:28 am

    While Cooper might have grounds for a recount, I doubt he could win in a run off unless a lot more voters decide to get off their hands.

    While his tenure will be entertaining, I find the prospect depressing.

  2. pretty helmet
    Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 9:13 am

    i find it quite interesting that an entire district was misinformed (read: not informed) about new polling places.

    and maybe i am out of line on this but i think the only reason langford received the votes he did is because the black community thinks that cooper is too “white”. how sad.

  3. Wade
    Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 9:33 am

    southtrek: You’re right — Cooper has very little chance in a runoff. He should cede graciously, roll up his sleeves, run for council in two years, and keep his eye on a mayoral run in 2011 or 2015. Winning 30 percent (and beating an incumbent) is a great start.

    pretty helmet: I don’t think it was conspiracy as much as brutal incompetence. I’ve lived in Birmingham proper for four years, and it took me one errant trip to figure out that in Crestwood, city elections take place in one location, state/fed in two others (because of a split congressional district). So new residents typically have no idea that the polling places are fixed, but different depending on the type of election. Crazy.

  4. Sean
    Friday, October 12, 2007, 9:12 pm

    Give Langford a chance. He has enough support to have some kind of mandate. He probably a greater likelihood of succeeding than Cooper. And he has a reasonably good track record in public service, where Cooper had none.

    Langford got the votes he did because he’s extremely popular among black voters, especially in Western districts. (And most of his white detractors don’t live in the city.) I live west of Birmingham, where Langford is the only politician who has done anything significant.

  5. Eric
    Sunday, October 21, 2007, 4:19 pm

    I’ll be long gone from Alabama before it happens, but I will watch from a distance with great interest when Birmingham receives one black eye after another under Langford’s “leadership” starting with the black eye the Feds will likely deliver from one of the various ongoing investigations involving Langford.

    Sadly, Birmingham voted him into office and as such, deserve what they are sure to receive under a Langford regime.

    As a side note, I would have voted for anyone with a comprehensive plan to have the trash cleaned up from the sides of the road. This is the filthiest place I have ever lived. Don’t Alabamians understand what a trash can is for?

  6. Free rides to nowhere « Silent Speaking
    Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 1:29 am

    […] we shouldn’t expect anything different from him though. After all, in his bid for office, he reportedly said the city needed a “crazy man” as mayor. If that is the case, I doubt there is anyone better qualified for the job than […]

  7. Wade on Birmingham » Blog Archive » Vote 2009: Patrick Cooper enters mayoral race
    Thursday, November 5, 2009, 11:29 pm

    […] Langford vs. Cooper vs. eight losersVote 2009: Let’s do something (like select another mayor)Vote 2007: Mayor Langford, we presumeVote 2007: Mayoral forum the […]

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