In the latest victory for the progressive movement in the southern United States, voters elected 36-year-old populist Randall Woodfin, who ran a Bernie Sanders-style campaign, as the new mayor of Birmingham, Alabama in a runoff election on Tuesday night.
The runoff followed Woodfin’s promising performance during the first round of voting in August, and what local media described as an “often acrimonious race” between the mayor-elect and 7-year incumbent William Bell, who has been involved with local politics for the past 40 years. Woodfin, a former board of education president and relative political newcomer, is expected to take office November 28.
Sanders, who supported Woodfin’s candidacy, offered his congratulations on Twitter:
Our Revolution, the progressive political action group spun out of Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, also supported Woodfin’s bid for mayor.
“From knocking on doors to sending text messages, and making calls, Our Revolution invested in Woodfin’s campaign because he truly believes investing in people is how we build better cities,” said Nina Turner, the group’s president.
“We look forward to the Woodfin team bringing a new spirit of community and compassion to city hall,” Turner added. “This isn’t just a victory for Birmingham, it’s a victory for all of us.”
“Woodfin has gotten a lot of attention for being a soft-spoken, bearded bachelor with a hyper progressive platform,” Katherine Webb-Hehn reported for In These Times ahead of the Aug. 22 municipal election featuring a field of 12 mayoral candidates.
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