Two Ward 1 candidates in Fayetteville leading in money raised, spent; two others self-funded

David Dero Phillips (from left), Katy Sager, S. Robert Smith and Bob Stafford

FAYETTEVILLE — Two candidates vying for the open Ward 1 City Council seat have raised nearly $25,000 combined while two other candidates have no contributors and are paying for their campaigns themselves.

David Phillips, Katy Sager, S Robert Smith and Bob Stafford are competing for the Position 1 seat vacated by Sonia Harvey in June. The candidates turned in their preelection campaign contribution and expenditure forms to the Washington County Clerk’s Office by the deadline Tuesday.

Phillips, 61, is a deputy city attorney in Springdale. Sager, 46, is general counsel for Natural State Title in Springdale. Smith, 68, is a retired avionics engineer. Stafford, 56, is an artist and co-owner of Blue Star Business Services.

Early voting has begun in the race. Election Day is Tuesday.

Candidates must report contributions of at least $200 and expenditures of at least $100. 

Sager led the candidates in money raised. She so far has raised $13,950 from 13 listed donors. Stafford came next with $11,004 from 10 listed donors.

All of the donors listed in Sager’s report covered her total amount raised. The 10 listed donors in Stafford’s report covered $6,200, leaving $4,804 from donors contributing fewer than $200 each.

Sager also has spent the most money on her campaign among the four candidates with $6,781. Stafford has spent $4,348.

Neither Phillips nor Smith had any contributions. Phillips has spent $3,304 on his campaign using his own money, while Smith has spent $430 of his own money.

Sager’s top donors were the Arkansas Realtors Political Action Committee with two $3,300 contributions. The Rausch Coleman Political Action Committee also contributed $3,300.

Residents Mitchel Massey and Nic McLeod each contributed $1,000. The rest of Sager’s contributions were $500 or less.

Stafford’s largest contributors were Joyce Stafford with $2,300 and Kris Paxton with $1,000. The rest of Bob Stafford’s contributions were $350 or less.

Sager has spent most of her money on marketing supplies such as postcards, mailers, signs, flyers, T-shirts and postage, as well as office supplies. She spent $1,559 on a campaign event. She also spent $300 to pay six campaign workers.

The largest share of Bob Stafford’s money, $2,058, has gone toward paying two campaign workers. He also has spent $1,179 on yard signs and $472 on a campaign event.

Phillips spent $2,349 on business cards and signs and $954 on mailers.

Smith spent $405 on yard signs, car magnets, business cards, posters, stickers and a website. He also paid $25 to get the voter list from Washington County.

Ward 1 covers most of the southern part of the city, including 15th Street, South School Avenue, Huntsville Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Notable landmarks include Walker Park, Lake Sequoyah, Kessler Mountain Regional Park, Fayetteville High School and Ramay Junior High School.

City Council members serve four-year terms and earn $16,214 per year. The positions are nonpartisan. Only voters who live within a candidate’s ward can vote in the special election. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of Harvey’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2026.

A runoff election, if needed, will be Dec. 12. A runoff in a municipal election is required when no candidate gets more than 40% of the vote. Even then, the next closest candidate must get a share of the total vote that is within 20% of the leader’s share.

How to vote

Ward 1 residents can vote early at the Washington County Clerk’s Office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday. The office will be closed today in observance of Veterans Day and on Saturday and Sunday. The voting centers below will be open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. for Election Day on Tuesday:

• Cornerstone Church of Christ 4377 Huntsville Road

• Genesis Church 205 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

• Yvonne Richardson Community Center 240 E. Rock St. Check to see if you live in Ward 1 on the city’s website. Check your voter registration on the Arkansas VoterView website.

Source: Washington County Election Commission

CORRECTION: Katy Sager led all Ward 1 candidates in Fayetteville in money raised, but Bob Stafford had more individual contributions from donors providing less than $200 each. An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the number of contributors.

The story was updated to correct candidate contributions.