Incumbent Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. (right) won reelection Tuesday. Here he gives a pat on the back in passing to candidate Steve Landers Sr. at the conclusion of a candidate forum held in Little Rock. Oct. 10, 2022. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)
This story was updated at 4:10 p.m. Nov. 11 to reflect the latest vote tallies from the Pulaski County Election Commission’s website.
Incumbent Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. won re-election Tuesday night in the city’s combative and high-dollar mayor’s race, with 49.9% of the vote according to unofficial totals on election night.
Finishing second in the four-candidate field was retired auto dealer Steve Landers Sr. at 38.3%.
To win, the top finisher needed 40% to avoid a runoff next month, according to Pulaski County election officials.
These are complete, unofficial results as of Friday, Nov. 11, according to the Pulaski County Election Commission’s website:
- Scott, first elected Little Rock mayor in 2018, 31,530votes (48.7%).
- Steve Landers Sr., longtime auto dealer, 25,744 votes (39.7%).
- Greg Henderson, food blogger and entrepreneur, 5,036 votes (7.8%).
- Glen Schwarz, a three-time mayoral candidate, 998 votes (1.5%).
Spokesmen for the Scott and Landers campaigns did not respond to questions about Scott’s victory late Tuesday.
On Twitter, Scott wrote: “This win is bigger than me — it’s about all of us. Little Rock, thank you — I am grateful for each and every one of you. Tomorrow, we move forward as a city together.”
The four candidates have debated for weeks over issues including crime and policing, parks, public records, a canceled citywide LITfest celebration and how best to grow the capital city.
Contentious at times
Scott and Landers, in particular, exchanged accusations during community forums.
Landers questioned Scott’s ethics surrounding financing for the canceled LITfest event and charged the mayor with doing too little to address the city’s violent crime.
Scott accused Landers of using racially charged language — a “dog whistle” — and saying Landers didn’t have a plan for improving crime stats.
The mayor also faced criticism over the city’s failure to produce public records as required by law under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. City lawyers admitted in one lawsuit that the city had violated the FOIA. On Tuesday, a circuit court judge ordered Scott to show cause why he shouldn’t be held in contempt for failing to produce phone records in a lawsuit by blogger Matt Campbell.
Scott, 38, became Little Rock’s first popularly elected black mayor in a runoff election in 2018.
Landers, 69, who is white, received the largest share of campaign contribution support, much of it from business interests, according to campaign finance disclosure records.
Landers’ campaign raised almost $1 million, more than double Scott’s $403,604 total, according to reports filed Nov. 1. Landers’ campaign contributions included a $400,000 loan to himself.
The two other candidates’ reports show Henderson, 39, with $7,710 in campaign contributions, Schwarz, 68, with $101.
Landers’ near-$1 million in campaign contributions and loans appear to have surpassed campaign funds raised by past Little Rock mayoral candidates.
Plans if elected
In his campaign, Scott emphasized his plans to bring more growth and economic development to the city, and pointed to progress made since his 2018 election.
Landers, who sold his chain of car dealerships to his son in 2016, argued for more police officers along with changes in policing practices to lower violent crime in Little Rock.
Henderson said he wanted to strengthen ties between city residents with city government and police.
Schwarz said he wanted to fight global warming and bring a space program to the area, along with legalizing marijuana use.
The most recent previous Little Rock mayor’s race, in 2018, required a runoff after neither Scott nor 2nd-place finisher Baker Kurrus accumulated the required 40% of the vote in the November General Election.
Scott had 37%, Kurrus, 29%, according to Ballotpedia, topping third-place finisher Warwick Sabin with 28.3%
In the December runoff, Scott garnered 58% of votes to win; Kurrus had 42%.
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