An Ivy League lawyer and a county commissioner will meet in a runoff to replace ousted Birmingham mayor Larry Langford.
Yale University-educated Patrick Cooper and Jefferson County Commissioner William Bell were the top vote-getters in a special election among 13 candidates. The race included two City Council members and several colorful newcomers.
With all but one box reporting Tuesday night, unofficial returns showed Cooper with 13,992 votes, or 40 percent, to Bell's 8,752 votes, or 25 percent.
The third-place finisher, City Councilwoman Carole Smitherman, trailed badly.
The runoff is Jan. 19.
Langford was convicted on multiple federal charges in a bribery scheme in October and automatically removed from office.