Six months before Birmingham’s municipal elections, the pool of candidates for City Council is beginning to take shape.
Though official qualifying won’t be open until June 25, social media campaigns are underway for several Birmingham residents looking to claim a spot on the nine-member council. For now, some races are looking more crowded than others.
So far, every incumbent but District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt has confirmed to BirminghamWatch or filed paperwork indicating that they’re seeking re-election. District 1 Councilor Clinton Woods, District 2 Councilor Hunter Williams and District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn are so far unopposed.
Councilor Valerie Abbott has held the council’s District 3 seat since 2001, making her the current council’s longest-serving member. She’s announced a bid to extend that tenure, though she’ll face at least two challengers. Former Gardendale City Councilor Blake Guinn has announced a run for the seat, as has Joseph Casper Baker III, founder of the Facebook activist group I Believe in Birmingham and a former candidate to represent Alabama House District 54.
Three challengers are seeking the District 4 seat held by Councilor William Parker. One of them, Qunelius “Cory” Pettway, sought the seat in 2017; after that loss, he spent several years as community liaison for O’Quinn. Also running in District 4 is Scottie McClaney, a former grants program specialist for UAB who previously held positions on the Birmingham Parking Authority Board of Directors and the Downtown Redevelopment Authority board. Jonathan “J.T.” Moore, a manager of community partners at the Woodlawn Foundation, has also filed paperwork to form a campaign.
Parker confirmed to BirminghamWatch that he will seek reelection but said he isn’t prioritizing the campaign due to COVID.
Smitherman has confirmed that she’ll run to keep the seat she was appointed to in 2018. So far, she has one declared opponent. Keith O. Williams, a local activist and vice president of the North Titusville Neighborhood Association, has launched his bid for the seat. He previously ran in 2017 and 2019.
District 7 Councilor Wardine Alexander also will run for re-election. She’ll once again be facing off against Lonnie Malone, a local political commentator and executive director of the Effective Family mentorship program. Malone has made two unsuccessful bids for the office before, against Alexander’s predecessor, Jay Roberson, in 2017, and against Alexander in 2019.
The only declared candidate in District 8, now represented by Hoyt, is Carol E. Clarke, the general manager at Southside Development Company. Clarke previously served as the city’s economic development director from 2003 to 2008, under Mayor Bernard Kincaid.
In District 9, incumbent Councilor John Hilliard has filed papers setting up a campaign committee but has not yet officially announced. He will face challenger LaTonya Tate, a retired probation and parole officer and founder of the Alabama Justice Initiative, a group advocating for the end of mass incarceration.
Updated Feb. 10, 2021, to include O’Quinn’s reelection bid; Feb. 16 to include Hilliard’s filing and Clarke’s candidacy. Updated Feb. 23 to include Abbott and Parker’s re-election bids and Moore’s candidacy.