Landers outspends Scott by about $250K in race for Little Rock mayor
Fundraising and spending make 2022 election more expensive than 2018
The only campaign finance reports filed in the Little Rock mayor’s race show Steve Landers Sr. (second from left) has raised more than double the amount of incumbent Mayor Frank Scott Jr.(left) and vastly more than (third and fourth from left) Greg Henderson and Gary Schwarz combined. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)
Retired auto dealer Steve Landers Sr. has raised almost $1 million in campaign contributions in the race for Little Rock mayor, more than doubling incumbent Mayor Frank Scott Jr. ‘s $403,604 total, according to campaign finance disclosure reports filed Tuesday (Nov. 1).
Landers’ campaign contributions include a $400,000 loan to himself.
All four candidates in the Nov. 8 election for Little Rock mayor filed their first required campaign finance disclosure reports for the race on Tuesday, even though some started raising money Jan. 1.
Landers and Scott were by far the contribution and spending leaders, according to the reports filed with the Pulaski Circuit/County Clerk’s office.
Landers’ $994,304 total includes $137,991 listed as balance before the reporting period that started Jan. 1, plus the $400,000 loan and $456,313 in contributions.
His campaign reported spending $740,753. Landers has $253,552 remaining, according to his 93-page report.
Scott’s fundraising showed no balance to start the campaign, $403,604 in contributions and no loans from Scott or others. He has spent $491,181, or $87,579 more than his campaign has raised, according to the 27-page report.
The two other candidates’ reports show food blogger Greg Henderson with $7,710 in contributions, $4,925 spent, $2,785 on hand; and perennial candidate Glen Schwarz with $101 raised, $430 spent, $0 on hand.
State law sets an individual’s maximum contributions to candidates this year at $2,900 per candidate per election. The biggest contributors often give between $2,500 and $2,900, reports show.
Landers’ largest contributors include: Ronald Cameron, Mountaire Corp. chairman, $2,900; Thomas “Mack” McLarty III, Landers business partner and former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, $2,900; David Gulley, Standard Business Systems president, $2,900; John Flake, Flake & Company executive, $2,900; Alex Dillard, Dillard’s Inc. president, $2,900; Lee Strother, principal, Colliers/Arkansas, $2,900; W.R. Stephens Jr., The Stephens Group CEO and Co-Chairman, $2,900; Matt Duffield, president, Big River Materials, $2,900; and HuckPAC, $2,900.
Asked about contributions from leaders of some of Arkansas’ biggest businesses, Landers campaign spokesman Chase Duggar said: “Little Rock business leaders are supportive of our common-sense and business-like approach to making sure we will budget and spend tax money wisely.”
The campaign also is grateful for support from “Democrats, Republicans and Independents,” he said.
Scott campaign officials didn’t immediately respond to questions.
The largest contributors to Scott’s campaign include: Anthony Thomas, CEO, Windstream, $2,900; attorney Charles Cliett, $2,650; Gary Gorman, chairman, Gorman & Company, $2,900; Jeston George, CEO, Apptegy, $2,900; Justin Oakley, vice president. Bruce Oakley Inc., $2,500; Patrick Schuexk, CEO, Lexicon, $2,900; Richard Mays, lawyer, $2,900; Richard Massey, Cannae Holdings CEO, $2,900; and attorney/consultant Alexander Heckler, $2,900.
Landers’ near-$1 million in campaign contributions and loans appears to surpass funds raised by Little Rock mayoral candidates in recent years.
In 2018, after the November General Election and a run-off, winning candidate Scott reported raising $171,274 total and spending $245,837, according to reports on file with the Pulaski Circuit/County Clerk.
Second-place finisher Baker Kurras reported raising $470,468 and spending about the same amount for the two elections.
Warwick Sabin, who didn’t make the runoff, reported raising $354,202 for the General Election alone and spending $354,202.
Former Mayor Mark Stodola reported raising $299,220 for his first mayoral campaign in 2006 and spending $278,573.
Unlike Arkansas state and district candidates who report at least monthly during election years to the Arkansas Secretary of State, municipal candidates file their first campaign finance disclosure reports with county clerks.
Municipal candidates’ reports also are more difficult for voters to read and analyze than those of state candidates. The municipal campaign reports are presented online in Pulaski County, but in portable document format (pdf), that appear as photocopies.
Voters can’t download them into spreadsheets for sorting and analysis, as they can state and district candidates’ information, as well as for federal candidates.
Reports for the Little Rock mayor’s race were available online in pdf format late Tuesday.
Until then, a week before Election Day, voters couldn’t know how much money was going into the race, and to which candidates.
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