Fort Smith director, mayor election packets available, filing deadline May 26

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,652 views 

The Fort Smith mayor and the three at-large city directors positions are up for election this year. City of Fort Smith candidate election packets for the mayor and directors 5, 6 and 7 positions are available in the city’s clerk’s office in the Stephens Building, 623 Garrison Ave.

The city director positions, now held by Robyn Dawson (Position 5), Kevin Settle (Position 6) and Neal Martin (Position 7) are at-large seats, meaning the candidates do not have to live in one of the city’s four wards. The only criteria for the candidates is that they are at least 21, have resided in the city for at least six months and registered to vote in Fort Smith. Each position is for a four-year term beginning Jan. 1.

Candidates must file a Statement of Candidacy and submit a petition with the signatures of at least 50 registered voters in Fort Smith when they file for a position. There is a $10 filing fee, information from the city clerk’s office states. The filing period opens May 11, and the deadline to file is noon May 26.

Dawson was elected to the At-Large Position 5 seat in 2018. She ran against Libby Piatt and Sam Price for the seat formerly held by Tracy Pennartz, who did not seek re-election. Dawson said she will seek re-election to the seat in the upcoming election.

Settle was first elected to the At-Large Position 6 seat in 2006. He did not face an opponent in the 2018 election. Settle said he would be making an announcement on whether or not he will seek re-election soon.

Martin also is serving his first term on the board. He did not face an opponent to the At Large- Position 7 seat in 2018. He did run against incumbent George Catsavis for Ward 4 director in 2016. Catsavis won with about 56% of the vote. Martin has not indicated whether he will seek re-election for the Position 7 seat this year.

Fort Smith Mayor George McGill was first elected to the position in 2018 and began serving as the city’s first black mayor on Jan. 1, 2019. McGill won the race with just under 57% of the vote against Wayne Haver and Luis Andrade. Incumbent Mayor Sandy Sanders did not seek re-election. McGill told Talk Business & Politics he will seek another term as the mayor of Fort Smith and plans an announcement soon. The mayor also serves a four-year term and candidates must adhere to the same qualifications as those of city director.

Primary city elections will be Aug. 9. If no more than two candidates file any position, no primary election will be held. The general election is Nov. 8.

The candidates’ petitions must be filed and verified by the city clerk. Candidates also must file a statement of financial interest with the city clerk no later than May 30 and a campaign contributions and expenditure report 10 days pre-election and 30 days post-election.