‘We’re baaaack’: Montgomery mayor declares during reelection speech

Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 7:43 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2023 at 7:24 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - “Montgomery! We’re baaack,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said Tuesday night to roaring applause from those those at his campaign watch party as he accepted a second term in office.

“We will continue to look at everything from our municipal courts, to our parks and recreation, to even our infrastructure investment through a lens of equity, through a lens of opportunity,” Reed said, “one that focuses on increasing the opportunity index so that everyone has a chance to live, learn, and earn.”

Reed’s speech came just a few minutes after his strongest competitor, businessowner Barrett Gilbreath, called to concede the election.

Gilbreath said, as a father of three children, he didn’t want them to look at Tuesday night’s results like “Oh, we lost.” He said “you can win and you can learn. It’s not a loss. You win or you learn, and for me, this was a lesson for them because I think, I don’t want them to be afraid of trying something...if you don’t try, you’ll never know, and for me, the only real failure is not trying.

Poll results shortly before 9 p.m. showed unofficial results indicating Reed with 57% of the vote to Gilbreath’s 39%, earning Montgomery’s first Black mayor a second term in city hall. Reed’s other competitors, Victorrus Felder and Marcus McNeal, pulled the remaining 5% of the votes.

Turnout was around 40,000 of the approximately 140,000 registered voters, or around 35%.

Unofficial results of the Montgomery mayoral race on Aug. 22, 2023.
Unofficial results of the Montgomery mayoral race on Aug. 22, 2023.(Source: Campaigns)

As for City Council seats, District 9 incumbent City Councilman Charles Jinright, who serves as the city council president, appears to have won reelection by just 133 votes. Provisional ballots must still be counted, however.

Incumbents Glen Pruitt (District 8), Cornelius “CC” Calhoun (District 5), and Marche’ Johnson (District 3), all won reelection.

District 4 appears to be heading for a runoff, but without the seat’s incumbent. Current Councilwoman Audrey Billups-Graham lost her seat. Kahlia Bell and Franetta DeLayne Riley will vie for it in the runoff on Oct. 3.

District 2 incumbent Brantley Lyons did not run again. Julie Turner Beard has won the seat.

“My overall thoughts is that we hit every door most every single door,” Beard said. “We had lots of great front porch conversations. We made sure that everybody knew that we were interested in them and that we cared about them. And we’re ready to hit the, um, being a city councilman very soon.”

Montgomery City Council District 7′s seat will be filled by incoming Andrew Szymanski. Incumbent Clay McInnis did not seek reelection.

“I think from day one, we were talking about ambitious and creative and modern solutions to the problems that face Montgomery,” Szymanski said. “Everybody knows that. We need to have, you know, improvements investment into our public safety. We know that we need better roads, bridges and thoroughfares. But what we kind of said is that let’s not use yesterday’s solutions to fix tomorrow’s problems. Let’s come up with new ones. I think that’s really resonated with voters.”

You can find all unofficial race results from WSFA 12 News at wsfa.com/results.

Montgomery County Probate Judge J.C. Love says the runoff election will be on Oct. 3. Absentee voting for that runoff begins Sept. 5.

The voter registration deadline for the runoff is Sept. 18, the absentee application mail-in deadline is Sept. 26, the absentee application hand delivery deadline is Sept. 28, the absentee ballot hand deliver deadline is Oct. 2., and the absentee ballot mail-in deadline is at noon Oct. 3.

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