FORT SMITH -- Alma residents are set to head back to the polls later this year to decide who will be their mayor for the next four years.
None of the five candidates who ran for the mayor's seat got more than 50% of the total number of votes cast in the race during Tuesday's general election, according to complete but unofficial results on the Arkansas Secretary of State website.
Jimmy Fincher and Edward "Eddie" Wakefield got the highest number of votes, beating out Gary Perry; Jerry Martin, the incumbent mayor; and Brent Gardner. However, the question of who will face off for the mayor's position again in the Dec. 6 general runoff election won't be resolved until the provisional ballots from Tuesday's election have been counted, according to the Crawford County Clerk's Office on Wednesday.
The initial, unofficial results are:
Fincher 519 (34%)
Wakefield 307 (20%)
Perry 306 (20%)
Martin 253 (17%)
Gardner 127 (8%)
Arkansas Code Annotated 7-5-106 states a runoff election can also happen for a municipal office if a candidate receives at least 40% of the vote but doesn't have at least 20% more votes than the candidate who came in second place.
Martin was elected to a four-year term in 2018, according to the Alma City Clerk/Treasurer's Office. The mayor's salary is $50,000 per year.
Khristopher Miller also ran unopposed for reelection as Alma's city clerk/treasurer, according to the results.
The 2020 U.S. census shows Alma had a population of 5,825 as of that year, making it the second-most populous city in Crawford County.
In Van Buren, the county's most populous city, Tonia Fry defeated Jonathan Goins for the Ward 1, Position 2 seat on City Council, complete but unofficial results results state. The seat was Van Buren's only contested position.
Fry 2,656 (54%)
Goins 2,248 (46%)
A third candidate for the seat, Phyllis Thomas, dropped out of the race after filing, according to the Crawford County Clerk's Office.
Joe Hurst, Van Buren mayor, also ran unopposed for reelection while Shawnna Reynolds ran unopposed for the city clerk-treasurer seat. Reynolds is set to replace the incumbent, Phyllis Thomas, in her new role.
Van Buren had 23,218 residents as of the 2020 U.S. census.
Mulberry, the third-largest city in the county, had two contested races for its City Council. Bobby Tweedy successfully secured his reelection for the Ward 2, Position 1 seat over Sherry Hesson while Wilma Peevy did the same for the Ward 3, Position 1 seat over challenger Daimien Rice, according to complete but unofficial results.
Tweedy 261 (62%)
Hesson 162 (38%)
Peevy 235 (54%)
Rice 199 (46%)
Gary Baxter and Carla Dickerson also ran unopposed for reelection to the mayor and recorder/treasurer positions respectively.
Mulberry's population was 1,543 at the time of the 2020 U.S. census.
Crawford County itself had a contested race for the District 1 justice of the peace position on its Quorum Court on Tuesday, which saw the Republican Robert Arnold defeat Democrat Sherry Marshall, complete but unofficial results results state.
Arnold 1,299 (82%)
Marshall 291 (18%)
Arnold will take over from Debbie Pinkerton in his new seat.
Sharon Blount-Baker also ran unopposed for her current position, county circuit clerk.
Crawford County had a population of 60,133 as of the 2020 U.S. census.
Other Contested Races
The following are complete but unofficial results for contested races for other positions in Crawford County cities:
• Cedarville Mayor
Deborah Pinkerton 307 (74%)
Brian Conger 109 (26%)
• Chester Mayor
Shannon Smith 21 (51%)
Lacy Hendrix 20 (49%)
• Chester City Council Position 1
Grace George 22 (56%)
Laverne Hughes 17 (44%)
• Dyer Mayor
Robert Porter 139 (53%)
Paul Brown 123 (47%)
• Dyer City Council Ward 3, Position 1
Katherine Fry 109 (43%)
Cynthia Looney 73 (29%)
Michael Scantlin 71 (28%)
• Mountainburg City Council Ward 1, Position 2
Susan Sharp 76 (51%)
Ricky Kimes 74 (49%)
Source: Arkansas Secretary of State website