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Woods, Smitherman Win Council Races; Alexander headed to runoff election

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Clinton Woods, District 1 and Crystal Smitherman, District 6 won their Birmingham City Council races on Tuesday, according to unofficial results. (FILE)
By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times 

Clinton Woods, District 1 Birmingham City Councilor, easily won his race; Crystal Smitherman, narrowly avoided a runoff election in a crowded District 6 race and Wardine Alexander is headed to a runoff in her District 7 race, according to unofficial results from Tuesday’s city special elections.

Those councilors were appointed after the elected members in those districts resigned. 

Meanwhile, Birmingham residents on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to renew the ad valorem property tax that supports the Birmingham City Schools (BCS) system.

Woods and Smitherman, who were appointed last winter, will serve until the next election in 2021. Alexander, the incumbent and Ray Brooks, a retired senior executive, will meet in a runoff on November 19.

Voter turnout was 10 percent.

District 1

According to the unofficial results, Woods received 1,764 votes or 71.27 percent of the votes in the race. He attributed his victory to “great planning.”

“We had a very good team, we had a very good campaign manager in Deanna Reed and we really just hit the ground running and got started early and we were efficient and effective and it worked,” he said. “I’ve been able to work on a lot of different campaigns and it’s always special when it all comes together on Election Day so this is one of those where we felt like we did everything right. We’re excited, we did the work and got the results we wanted.”

Woods said he “over” communicated with voters during the campaign allowing his message to resonate with voters. 

“I dove in and wanted to understand what the priorities are they wanted to see and made those my priorities,” he said. “We were able to move the ball and get improvement on every issue residents had in the district.” 

For the remainder of his term, Woods said he is focused on infrastructure such as paving roads and adding sidewalks and creating clean communities.

Woods said they will be expanding the “Be Litter Free” Campaign started this year as well as continuing to work with students and improving their reading skills. 

“We have a Ready, Set, Read initiative that is aimed at making sure all of our kids can read at grade level so we’re already in Huffman Academy and we kicked that off this year and we’re excited about that,” he said. “We’re creating community gathering spaces and broke ground on our community garden last week and we’re looking forward to getting that completed and opened up and just executing on those things that residents want to see.”

District 6

Smitherman received 1,287 votes or 51.50 percent in a field that had seven candidates. 

Her keys to victory, she said, were “running a grass roots campaign and having one-to-one contact with my constituents whether it was in-person or on a phone bank.”

Smitherman said she was sincere in her messaging about District 6 which is “in my heart and my home . . . I really want to finish some of the projects I had started earlier this year and just really make our district become one,” she said. 

During the remainder of the term, Smitherman said she wants to get more houses demolished and attract economic development in the area. 

“I want to help people to be entrepreneurs and help more small businesses, helping with the 2021 World Games. I want to get my schools Science Technology Engineering Mathematics certified and help increase our SAT and ACT scores,” she said. “I want to make sure our local workers and local unions have jobs in Birmingham and more home ownership and making sure affordable housing is actually implemented within the District.” 

District 7

Wardine Alexander

Alexander received 1,159 votes or 42 percent while challenger Raymond Brooks received 844 votes or about 30 percent. The two will meet in a November 19 runoff.

Alexander said she was excited about the number of votes she received and looks forward to the November election.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to continue in my quest to become the elected person for the seat, so I will be working closer and harder in the district to secure those votes that will now give me that percentage to be the true winner,” she said.

Alexander said she will impress upon voters the work she has done in the past year and looks forward to sharing her vision for the district.

“I want to make them aware of what I’ve done and make sure that everyone is aware of the vision that I have for the district so I will be making more of an effort to talk with more of the constituents to make sure they understand that message,” she said.

Brooks, who received 844 votes, or 30 percent, said he was grateful for the support he received “because I feel like it was the people’s campaign and we are going to continue to work to represent the people of the district.”

Raymond Brooks

Due to an issue with some ballots, poll officials must complete counting results Wednesday after obtaining a court order to open results from three polling places after the memory cards containing results were accidentally placed in the sealed boxes with the paper ballots.

Those three polling places were Martha Gaskins Elementary School (polling place for Districts 1, 2 and 4), Robinson Elementary School (polling place for Districts 2, 4 and 5) and Five Points West Public Library (polling place for District 6 and 7). According to City Clerk Lee Frazier, the completed unofficial results will be available as soon as those votes are counted, which is expected to be Wednesday morning. 

School Tax Vote

Birmingham residents on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to renew the ad valorem property tax that supports the Birmingham City Schools (BCS) system.

According to unofficial results from Tuesday’s election, with 94 percent of the precincts reporting, there were 14,100 votes, or 90 percent, for renewal of the property taxes and 1,600 votes, or 10 percent, against renewal. 

 “We are pleased with the outcome of today’s special election,” said Lisa Herring Ed.D. Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools. “Birmingham City Schools is on an upward trajectory, and we are grateful for this vote of confidence from our community.”

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS                                                                           VOTES PERCENT 

REGISTERED VOTERS-TOTAL…………………………………………..149, 772

BALLOTS CAST TOTAL……………………………………………………. 16,189

VOTER TURNOUT TOTAL………………………………………………….. 10.81%

BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT NO. 1 

CLINTON WOODS……………………………………………………………… (1,764 votes) 71.27%

SHERMAN COLLINS JR. ……………………………………………………. (670 votes)  27.07%

HAKI JAMAAL MUHAMMAD………………………………………………….(41 votes) 1.66%

BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT NO.6

CRYSTAL SMITHERMAN……………………………………………………….. (1,287 votes) 51.5%

ONOYEMI WILLIAMS……………………………………………………………… (380 votes) 15.21%

CARLOS CHAVERST JR. ……………………………………………………… (349 votes) 14%

LATANYA MILLHOUSE………………………………………………………… (265 votes) 10.6%

CLARENCE MUHAMMAD………………………………………………………. 127 (votes) 5.08%

WILLINE BODY………………………………………………………………….. 50 (votes) 2%

KEITH WILLIAMS…………………………………………………………………… 41 (votes) 1.64%

BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT NO. 7 

WARDINE ALEXANDER………………………………………………………….. 1,159 (votes) 42.41%

RAYMOND BROOKS……………………………………………………………… 844 (votes) 30.88%

LONNIE MALONE………………………………………………………………….. 730 (votes) 26.71%

This article was updated on October 9, 2019 at 5:02 p.m. to correct the numbers from the ballot.