Local media called the election for Reed, who overwhelmingly defeated television station owner David Woods by more than 16,000 votes.
“Let the record show tonight, above all … what we can do when we come together in this city and we build around positivity, around opportunity, and all the things that tie us together versus those things that keep us apart,” Reed told supporters at a rally turned victory party.
Reed’s message was one of unity.
“Tonight isn’t the end, tonight is the beginning,” he said. “Tonight sent a signal, not just to all of us here in Montgomery, all of us in Alabama, it sent a signal throughout this country about what kind of community we are right now, not what we were.”
• Reed: 32,918 votes; 67.3%
• Woods: 16,010 votes; 32.7%
“We ran a very good race. We worked hard, met with a lot of people, and it just worked out that our opponent had more votes than we did,” Woods told WSFA.
Longtime resident Diana Stokes Williams told CNN outside a polling station she had marched during the civil rights movement, been through segregation and was “very aware of the prejudice that has existed in her community.”
“Coming from Montgomery … where there’s been a lot, Alabama’s been full of lot of prejudice , and to go from (former Alabama Gov.) George Wallace to Reed would be a major step.”
Williams said she voted in every election and it is important to have someone who looks like Reed represent the community.
She said as a black man, Reed has a greater perspective on life in Montgomery and can see both sides. She added that she hoped Reed would represent all races.
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Todd Strange, Montgomery’s mayor since 2009, was not running for reelection.
CNN’s LaRell Reynolds in Montgomery and Konstantin Toropin contributed to this report.