No, really? In Birmingham?
The front-runner, Jefferson County Commissioner Larry Langford, holds a solid lead among blacks; the man in second place, Birmingham attorney Patrick Cooper, is the favorite among whites.
Langford has the support of 43 percent of the black voters polled and 8 percent of whites. Cooper drew support from 58 percent of whites and 13 percent of blacks
If those two candidates make it into a runoff, Cooper will need more black support to win the election. Among blacks, he was viewed favorably by 49 percent and negatively by 13 percent; 38 percent didn’t know him well enough to say.
Langford, with a favorable rating by 80 percent of the blacks in the poll, apparently would be in a strong position in a runoff to pick up votes that went to other black candidates in the first election. He likely would have difficulty expanding his support among whites because 66 percent of white voters have a negative impression of him.
80 percent favorable? Hell, he could win this one outright. At any event, if he faces Cooper in the runoff it’ll be a blowout.
Cooper is, in fact, black. However, he’s getting attacked as an Uncle Tom:
In articles for his Web site, voternewsnetwork.com, and in the Birmingham Times, Donald Watkins, a supporter of Mayor Bernard Kincaid, charges there is a media conspiracy involving The Birmingham News and “over-the-mountain overlords” to promote Cooper. Watkins calls for black unity to resist the “siege.”
The most blatant racial appeals have come from radio personality Frank Matthews, a Langford supporter, who has unleashed a barrage of race-based rhetoric targeting Cooper. On a nearly nightly basis, Matthews mocks Cooper on his radio talk show as “Mr. Impersonating-The-White-Man Patrick Cooper” and points to campaign donations from white suburbanites. He repeatedly mentions that Cooper’s ex-wife is white, a fact he believes is relevant to some voters.
Let me remind you that Donald Watkins was the mastermind of the strategy to use the race card in defense of Richard Scrushy, an extremely white man.
Cooper has also been attacked as being a secret Republican. Now, that’s just low.