Birmingham voted for change Tuesday, electing a new mayor, and turning out two city councilors, including the council president. In the race for mayor, challenger Randall Woodfin soundly defeated incumbent William Bell. Woodfin took nearly 59 percent, or 24,910 votes, to Bell's 41 percent, or 17,353 votes. The results appared to mark an end to Bell's long political career, which began with his election to the city council in 1979. Woodfin's campaign stressed a need to improve city services in all 99 neighborhoods. The challenger criticized Bell for neglecting many areas of the city, while pursuing downtown development. Woodfin was backed by socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who said the election of Woodfin would bring "real progressive change" to Birmingham. Bell's political nemesis, council president Jonathan Austin, also was defeated. Darrell O'Quinn, president of the Citizens' Advisory Board, and the Crestwood North Neighborhood Association, took 52 percent, or 2430 votes, to Austin's 48 percent, or 2271 votes. O'Quinn pledged to work his "butt off" for the district's voters, including the ones that did not support him. Voters denied a third term to Councilor Kim Rafferty, who fell to challenger Hunter Williams. Williams received 57 percent, or 3097 votes, to Rafferty's 43 percent, or 2319 votes. Former council president Roderick Royal lost a close race for an open council seat to John Hilliard.
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