1907 Birmingham municipal election

From Bhamwiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The 1907 mayoral election for the city of Birmingham was held on February 18, 1907 with incumbent George Ward defeating challenger Frank O'Brien by 1,659 votes to 1,533 (a difference of only 126 votes, or 4%). The vote was technically a Democratic primary, but with no real opposition party, it was the deciding election.

Although O'Brien promised to improve the undermanned Birmingham Police Department, Ward narrowly won reelection - in part by identifying O'Brien with liquor and gambling interests. He accomplished this despite giving no public speeches during the campaign. Nevertheless the campaigning was friendly and the Birmingham News reported that "it was probably the first time in Alabama politics that two opposing candidates voted for each other".

In a letter to the newspapers thanking voters for their confidence in him, Ward pledged "to do the best I can for the next two years." He further expressed his frustration with the Birmingham Police Commission and urged citizens to press upon their state legislators to abolish that system.


Mayor of Birmingham

George Ward Frank O'Brien
1st Ward 59 152
2nd Ward 126 212
3rd Ward 193 143
4th Ward 185 96
5th Ward 257 218
6th Ward 109 124
7th Ward 209 183
8th Ward 256 207
9th Ward 245 198
Totals 1,639 1,533

Chief of Police

Birmingham Board of Aldermen

Other city departments

Referendum on elected department heads

The question was put to the voters whether city department heads should continue to be filled by popular election with 1,674 votes cast in support of the existing system and 718 votes calling for change. Note that the Chief of the Fire Department was already an exception to the rule.


  • Birmingham News (February 19, 1907), cited in Joseph M. Farley (November 1963) "The Greater Birmingham Struggle of 1907-1910". Journal of the Birmingham Historical Society. Vol. 4, pp. 1-15
  • "Mayor Ward renominated in yesterday's primary by majority of 106." (February 19, 1907) The Birmingham News
  • "Political Debates Were Talk of Town Yesterday" (July 10, 1908) The Birmingham Age-Herald, p. 5
  • Harris, Carl V. (1977) Political Power in Birmingham, 1871-1921. Twentieth-Century America Series. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 087049211X