Embattled Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. wins re-election

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,628 views 

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr., whose administration endured intense scrutiny this election year for a lack of transparency, questionable contracts, a derailed music festival, and rising crime, won comfortably in his re-election bid for a second four-year term.

In unofficial results, Scott won 20,961 votes to second-place finisher Steve Landers, who won 17,587 votes. Greg Henderson finished third with 3,472 votes and last place finisher Glen Schwarz had 605 votes.

Scott’s final margin of victory was 47.98% to Landers’ 40.26%. State law allows municipal races in cities of a certain size – Little Rock being one of them – to declare victories if a candidate exceeds 40% of the vote. If two candidates achieve 40% of the vote, the plurality vote-getter is the winner.

“This win is bigger than me – it’s about all of us,” Scott said on his Twitter account after Landers conceded the race. “Little Rock, thank you – I am grateful for each and every one of you. Tomorrow, we move forward as a city together.”

The high-profile race was among the most-watched statewide. Scott is the city’s first popularly elected Black mayor. In the last year, rising violent crime became a central issue in the campaign as Little Rock saw its highest murder rate ever, 73 killings, just days before Election Day.

Scott has touted his long-term efforts to reduce crime as part of a comprehensive plan to turn the situation around. Landers had criticized Scott’s handling of public safety affairs and made it a centerpiece of his campaign.

Scott also came under fierce media scrutiny for the city’s lack of compliance with Freedom of Information Act requests. A Pulaski County judge has ordered Scott to testify later this month about his role in violations of FOIA requests.

Another hot topic in the campaign was Scott’s new music and tech festival, LITFest, which was cancelled days before it was to occur after questions arose from the city attorney and city manager about a contract involving the group spearheading the event that employed Scott’s former chief of staff.

Scott deflected much of the criticism in the final weeks of the campaign and continued to focus on his record of adding jobs from companies like Amazon, his efforts to improve the quality of life with attractions like Top Golf, and his holistic approach to the city’s crime problem.

Talk Business & Politics will update this story.