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FORT SMITH -- District 78 state Rep. George McGill handily won election over two opponents in Tuesday's municipal primary to become the city's first black mayor.

In the race for the Board of Directors at-large Position 5 seat, Spradling Elementary School Principal Robyn Dawson led the voting among three candidates but did not get more than 50 percent of the votes cast. She received 49.22 percent and will face Samuel Price, who received the second-highest number of votes, in the Nov. 6 general election. Entertainment companies sales representative Libby Piatt came in third in the voting and was eliminated.

McGill ran against former Southside High School Principal Wayne Haver, who came in second in the polling, and Luis Andrade, a University of Arkansas at Fort Smith student and naturalized citizen from Brazil, who ran a distant third.

With 49 of 49 precincts reporting, the complete but unofficial vote totals were:

McGill 4,411

Haver 2,582

Andrade 795

The three were running to succeed Mayor Sandy Sanders who decided not to seek re-election.

McGill is finishing his third term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and is a retired small-business owner. In a forum last month, McGill said he could bring advanced leadership to the mayor's office to help the city progress.

It was critical for the city to continue complying with the consent decree it signed with the federal government to make improvements to the city's wastewater system, he said. Economic development and growth, and making the city attractive to young people were priorities to improving the city, he said.

Dawson, who also is co-owner of two small businesses, said in a recent candidate forum the election was about leadership and experience and she had both. As principal, she manages a large staff and a budget. She said she knows how to solve problems and to mediate.

Price is a McDonald's department manager and is going to college online working on an elementary education degree. He said in the candidate forum if he is elected he wants to represent the working man. He also said if people want Fort Smith to be better, they have to be better because the people are Fort Smith.

With 49 of 49 precincts reporting, the complete but unofficial vote totals were:

Dawson 3,660

Price 2,545

Piatt 1,231

The winner in November will succeed Tracy Pennartz as one of three at-large city directors who represent the entire city. The board has four ward representatives for segments of the city's population. Like Sanders, Pennartz chose not to run for re-election.

Metro on 08/15/2018

Print Headline: Fort Smith elects first black mayor; board race down to 2

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