Fort Smith mayoral candidate Luis Andrade, a 22-year-old immigrant from Brazil and student at University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS), has received a notable statement of support from Northwest Arkansas, though it is unclear if the support is a formal endorsement.
Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin told Talk Business & Politics on Tuesday (March 6) he had met with Andrade and was “most impressed … as he shared his commitment to his faith, his commitment to conservative values, and his support of the free market.”
“Luis’ education and his service to our country speak to his character,” McCaslin said, adding that his vision for the future of Fort Smith “is exciting, encouraging, and refreshing.”
“I believe, if elected, Luis will be successful in making a positive impact on Fort Smith’s economy and its overall quality of life. Additionally, I believe he will represent Fort Smith and its citizens with professionalism and integrity,” McCaslin said.
Of McCaslin, Andrade said it was “an honor” to meet with “the Mayor of one of the most successful towns in the state of Arkansas.”
“I am extremely honored and blessed to share that Bob told me to go ahead and spread the word that he fully endorses me as the Fort Smith Mayoral candidate,” Andrade said, adding McCaslin “shared with me his experiences, good and bad, from serving as Mayor of Bentonville for 12 years and how he turned things around to transform his city into a model town to the rest of our state.”
Andrade also said the meeting included discussions on “everything from economic development to ensuring that professionalism and integrity are always the top priorities of my government.”
“We agreed on the importance of building a strong alliance between both of our towns, what happens in Fort Smith benefits Bentonville, and what happens in Bentonville benefits Fort Smith. I am blessed to have met with him and honored to have received his endorsement. Fort Smith, great things are coming!”
When asked if he was working on other endorsements, Andrade told Talk Business & Politics: “There are some more big ones coming!”
Talk Business & Politics followed up with McCaslin multiple times on Tuesday afternoon to see if his statement of support amounted to a formal endorsement of Andrade over opponent and state Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith, as well as whether he had ever endorsed a mayoral candidate in another city’s contested election. This story will be updated when/if McCaslin responds.
McCaslin’s statement of support follows Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders’ formal endorsement of McGill. McGill is not running for reelection to his legislative seat.
McGill told Talk Business & Politics his only comment about McCaslin’s apparent endorsement of Andrade was that “the people of Fort Smith will be the ones voting for the next mayor.”
Andrade and McGill are the only two candidates in a field that was once three. Position 7 At-Large Director Don Hutchings, pulled out of the race via Facebook post on Feb. 27, citing the “heavy demand of building our new $5 million church facility (at Evangel Temple)” as the reason. Hutchings also said he would not run for reelection as a city director.