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  • Writer's pictureAlex Nelson

Former Mayor of Birmingham, William Bell, seeks to regain City Hall


The City of Birmingham has yet another contender in its upcoming mayoral race. And the latest politician to vie for the top spot in City Hall is no stranger to the mayor's office.

Last Friday, William Bell, the former mayor of the city released an official video via YouTube announcing his candidacy. In the video, entitled, "Why I'm Running for Mayor," Bell wastes no time reminding viewers of his political experience and deeply rooted relationship to the city. The former mayor also does not hesitate to criticize incumbent Mayor Randall Woodfin, who defeated Bell in a heated 2017 election.

Woodfin, also seeking re-election, is Birmingham's youngest mayor in 120 years—a fact that Bell has already begun to highlight early in the campaign season.

In his announcement, Bell cited his belief in the future of Birmingham, but called for an "experienced hand to get us back on track," explaining, “four years of ineptitude and mismanagement has our city hurting, and adrift—people out of work, children out of school, families losing homes and, more importantly, loved ones. Record rates of murder, and violence in our neighborhoods. Chaos in city government and our finances in a mess.”

"The stakes are just too high for the current mayor to learn on the job. He's in over his head," said Bell.

"I'm running for mayor because I believe my experience and vision can bring us out of this time of crisis, stronger. I have seen what we can do in Birmingham if we are willing to do the work. We've fought institutional racism. We built a vibrant economy in the last decade. We have made ourselves a touchstone for equality...," Bell continued.


The former mayor is not exaggerating when it comes to experience. Bell has been a fixture on the Birmingham political scene for decades. He led the city as mayor from 2010 to 2017 and was a sitting Birmingham City Council member from 1979 until 2001. He was re-elected to city council 2005 and served until 2008.

Experience aside, Bell faces serious contention ahead of the August 24 election. Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales and former Birmingham city contractor Chris Woods were early entrants into the race. Political newcomers, Cerissa A. Brown and Darryl Williams have also announced their candidacy.

In terms of fundraising and momentum, Mayor Woodfin holds a distinct advantage over all four challengers. In early February, Woodfin's campaign announced that he had already raised in excess of $1 million in an effort to maintain office.

There is still plenty of time between now and August. In any case, the election season will surely be an interesting one as the candidate field for mayor of Birmingham continues to grow.

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