MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Voters in Alabama’s capital were deciding an election Tuesday that could result in the historic Southern city electing its first black mayor.
Probate Judge Steven Reed, who is black, and white businessman David Woods faced each other in a runoff in Montgomery. The two were the top finishers in the first round of voting in August.
Reed is the first black probate judge of Montgomery County, and his father Joe Reed is the longtime leader of the black caucus of the Alabama Democratic Party. Woods, who owns WCOV-TV, is the son of the late broadcasting executive Charles Woods, a perennial Alabama candidate for more than 30 years.
If elected, Reed will be the first African American mayor of the city where Southern delegates voted to form the Confederacy in 1861. Reed had nearly twice as many votes as Woods in the August vote, which also involved 10 other candidates.
The winner of the nonpartisan election will replace current Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, who has served since 2009 and did not seek reelection.
Montgomery, a city of roughly 200,000 people, is about 60% black and has been losing population for years. Issues in the race included tackling crime, which Woods said is his top priority during a debate. Reed said his No. 1 goal is improving a troubled public school system.