Possible candidates for Birmingham mayor

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It could be a crowded race for mayor of Birmingham.

Political observers have identified several people as possible candidates to become Birmingham's next elected mayor, including:

Carole Smitherman, acting mayor
William Bell, Jefferson County Commissioner
Richard Arrington, former Birmingham mayor
Patrick Cooper, businessman
Robert Kelly, businessman
Emory Anthony, attorney
Cedric Sparks, Birmingham Youth Services

State Rep. John Rogers has been urged to run, but he told FOX6 News 'no way' and predicts the race will come down to name recognition.

"The front runners will be Dick Arrington and Patrick Cooper," Rogers said.  "They have the name recognition to be viable candidates."

UAB pollster Larry Powell says holding the election in early December would limit the chances of some candidates.

"Such a short election benefits people who have a strong name identification," Powell said. "People who have an organization and people who have money."

Powell said the upcoming election will be a "great spectator's sport."

"This is the strangest election I've ever seen and I've been in this for a while."