Frank Scott Jr. has been elected mayor of Little Rock.
He defeated Baker Kurrus in the nonpartisan runoff election held on Tuesday after the two received most votes of the five candidates in the general election held on November 6, 2018.
Kurrus conceded to Scott about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday after early voting and absentee ballot numbers showed Scott had a sizable lead.
Scott succeeds Mayor Mark Stodola, who announced this year that he would not seek re-election after 12 years in office because of a family medical issue.
Scott is the first African-American elected mayor by popular vote in the city’s history. Little Rock has had two black mayors, but they were city directors chosen for the job by fellow board members.
With all precincts reporting, unofficial results were:
Scott: 22,622 – 58 percent
Kurrus: 16,282 – 42 percent
Scott, a 35-year-old Little Rock native, is a banker and associate pastor. He was a deputy police director and director of intergovernmental affairs under former governor Mike Beebe. He has also served on the state highway commission and the board of directors for the Little Rock Port Authority and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. Scott is graduate of the University of Arkansas. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Kurrus, who was born in Pine Bluff, is a 64-year-old lawyer and former business executive who served on the Little Rock School Board and was superintendent of the Little Rock School District from May 2015 to June 2016. He is chairman of the CHI St. Vincent Infirmary board of directors. Kurrus is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and Harvard Law School.
In a KATV questionnaire, Scott said he believes Little Rock’s greatest concern is the inability to develop the local economy and sustain job growth. He said he’s proposed several measures to spur job growth, including closing the skills gap.
“When companies contemplate relocating to Arkansas, Springdale, Rogers and Jonesboro have become favored destinations – not Little Rock,” he said. “We have got to get back into the conversation, and on the top of mind for companies.”
Little Rock has a city manager form of government and both Scott and Kurrus said they’d seek more power for the mayor’s office if elected.