Category: 2017 Birmingham Mayor Elections

Woodfin: Bell’s Fundraising Allegations Are ‘False and Misleading’

By Robert Carter, BirminghamWatch

Birmingham Mayoral candidate Randall Woodfin called Mayor William Bell’s criticisms of his out-of-state fundraising “false and misleading.”

Bell has called out Woodfin for getting money from out-of-state donors and being supported by a national liberal agenda. Woodfin says some of that is true, but he had to go farther afield for some of his contributors because Bell during his long government career has had the backing of virtually every corporate interest. He also said there’s a fear of retribution that has to be overcome when the opponent is a long-serving, influential official. Read more.

Contributions to Bell and Woodfin Highlight Campaign Differences

Birmingham’s two remaining mayoral candidates have reported the contributions their campaigns have received since the Aug. 22 election, revealing stark contrasts between the candidates’ fundraising tactics.

Filings submitted last week show that incumbent candidate William Bell has raised $137,000 since the election, more than triple the $42,356 that challenger Randall Woodfin has raised.

But Woodfin surpasses Bell in the sheer number of individual contributors. He’s collected contributions from 327 donors since Aug. 22, with an average donation of $130, while Bell has received contributions from 59 sources, averaging $2,331 per donation.
Read more.

Bell Encourages Staff to Campaign for Him; City Hall Meeting Raises Ethical Concerns

Mayor William Bell during an Aug. 28 meeting in City Council chambers urged employees of his office to bolster his re-election campaign and told them their jobs could be at stake as well as his.

In an audio recording of the meeting, Bell told staffers that it would be improper for them to campaign for him on city time. But he told them there were activities every weekend and urged them to spread the word on social media about projects conducted during his administration.

“The political survival of my administration is at stake,” he says on the tape. Read more.

Bell, Woodfin Advance to Runoff in Birmingham Mayor’s Race

By Robert Carter, BirminghamWatch

Birmingham Mayor William Bell may be in for the fight of his political life.

Bell failed to win a majority of votes cast in the Aug. 22 mayoral election — in fact, he wasn’t even the leading vote-getter — and now will go head-to-head against Birmingham Board of Education member Randall Woodfin in a runoff Oct. 3.

Woodfin took the top spot in the returns with 15,656 votes; at 40.84 percent, he was well short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff. Bell trailed Woodfin by a wide margin in early returns but closed the gap as the night wore on and finished with 14,011 votes, or 36.55 percent.

Woodfin attracted a diverse following in his campaign, and Bell ended the night vowing to focus in on his base before the next round of voting. Read more.

Top Three Candidates for Mayor Square Off During Debate

Aug. 10, 2017 – On Thursday morning, WBHM and the Birmingham Business Journal held a mayoral debate that featured three of the 12 candidates in the race – incumbent William Bell and challengers Chris Woods and Randall Woodfin – a restriction that drew criticism from the candidates who were not invited to take part.

According to WBHM, the candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on polling data, specifically, a WBRC Fox 6 News poll that sampled 214 registered Birmingham voters. In the poll, 54 percent of likely voters cited Bell as their first choice, with Woods at 17 percent and Woodfin at 14 percent.

Some candidates who were not included in the debate took to social media to express their frustration. “They use the same flawed data polling that FOX 6 use don’t waste your time!” (sic) wrote candidate Frank Matthews on the event’s Facebook page.
Philemon Hill, another candidate, wrote on Facebook that the debate was skewed in Bell’s favor, calling it “a bought event” that was “a controlled environment so Bell can feel comfortable.” He also took issue with the event’s scheduling – at 8:30 a.m. on the first day of school for Birmingham City Schools. “Holding a mayoral forum at the same time … education can’t be a priority for any involved party,” he wrote.

Gigi Douban, the news director at WBHM, called such claims “ridiculous,” noting that “setting benchmarks for participants is common practice,” and saying that focusing on candidates who had polled at over 10 percent allowed for a “more substantive discussion of the issues.” Read more.

Chris Woods

Mayor Name: Chris Woods Age: 55 Residence:  Birmingham Political experience: None Professional experience: Owner, C.W. Woods Contracting Services Inc., 1989-present; owner, Magic City Construction, 1989-1997; wide receiver, Denver Broncos, 1989; wide receiver, Los Angeles Raiders, 1987-1988. Civic experience: Member, Huffman Recreation Board. Education: Auburn University, bachelor’s degree in industrial arts; A.H. Parker High School. Top

Randall Woodfin

Mayor Name: Randall Woodfin Age: 36 Residence:  Birmingham Political experience: Member, Birmingham Board of Education, 2013-2017; president, Birmingham Board of Education, 2013-2015; candidate, Birmingham Board of Education, 2009. Professional experience: Assistant city attorney for Birmingham, 2009-present. Civic experience: Board member, Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy; board member, Birmingham Botanical Gardens; board member, Hispanic Interest