Montgomery, Alabama has been in existence for more than 200 years, more than half of its population is African-American and tonight, they elected the first Black mayor in their city’s history. Steven L. Reed, a Morehouse alumnus and Montgomery County probate judge, beat television station owner David Woods in a runoff, gaining 32,918 votes (67.3%) to Woods’ 16,010 votes (32.7%) with 47 precincts of 47 precincts, according to incomplete, unofficial returns. He will be sworn into office Nov. 12 at Montgomery City Hall.
He will replace current Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, who did not seek reelection.
“This will be a historic day in Montgomery,” author and historian Richard Bailey said. “For the first time, the people of this city, especially African Americans, will be able to say that we have someone in the mayor’s office who understands the pulse of the black community.”
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.
Reed made his intentions known in February, when he made his announcement. During his campaign, he advocated for a livable wage, increasing investment in the school system and the city’s police force. He pledged to bring Montgomery forward.
“This election has never been about me. This election has never been about just my ideas. It’s been about all of the hopes and dreams that we have as individuals and collectively in the city,” Reed said in his victory speech. Reed said his campaign was built on a coalition focused on the city’s future and “all of the things that tie us together rather than those things that keep us apart.”
Reed also gained endorsements from Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
“We’re a city that wants to move forward and a city that wants a vision for the future, and a city that wants to see better opportunities across the board,” Reed told The Associated Press as he waited for returns.
Former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum tweeted, “The South continues to transform himself, one day at a time. Today we celebrate a capable and committed leader, who’ll just so happen become the first Black Mayor in Montgomery’s history. Congratulations Mayor-elect, Steven Louis Reed!!! Onward.”