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Langford gets 50.3% of vote in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Larry Langford beat nine opponents and avoided a runoff in the Birmingham mayoral race, according to preliminary results Tuesday evening.

With all of the boxes reporting, Langford had 26,227 votes, or 50.3 percent. Patrick Cooper was second with 15,392, or about 29.5 percent. Incumbent Bernard Kincaid was a distant third with about 8 percent of the vote, according to The Birmingham News.

To avoid a runoff, Langford needed 50 percent of the vote plus one more vote. Provisional votes will be counted Wednesday.

Langford is a Jefferson County commissioner and Cooper is a newcomer to politics, an attorney who built name recognition through a swarm of television commercials.

In Talladega, meanwhile, a former mayor who served more than three years in federal prison for stealing from taxpayers failed to regain the keys to City Hall.

Kincaid sought re-election on a slogan of honesty and trust, contending his eight years in office have been a corruption-free period of progress for Alabama's largest city. A runoff, to be held Oct. 30, was widely expected due to the large number of candidates, but Langford seems to have avoided that possibility.

In Talladega, Mayor Brian York fended off a runoff challenge by Larry Barton, a former mayor who was serving his third term when he was convicted on federal charges of stealing from the city.

According to preliminary results Tuesday night, York won about 51 percent of the vote, getting 1,793 votes to Barton's 1,725.

Prosecutors said Barton took $5,900 from the city by having checks written to a man he claimed to have hired to remove tree stumps around town. He served more than three years in federal prison for fraud and money laundering before his release in 1997.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles restored Barton's political rights in 1999, allowing him to return to politics.

Barton lost runoffs for mayor in 1999 and 2003, and he also lost a state Senate primary race last year.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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