VOTE 2023: Bob Stafford wins City Council race in Ward 1

FAYETTEVILLE — Bob Stafford has won the special election in Ward 1, and will fill the empty seat on the City Council after taking 65% of the votes, according to final but unofficial vote counts.

Stafford defeated challengers Katy Sager (27%), David Phillips (6%), and S. Robert Smith (2%) to take over the Ward 1, Position 1 seat left vacant by Sonia Harvey, who resigned in June. Stafford’s term runs through Dec. 31, 2026.

A total of 1,267 of votes were cast in the special election.

A runoff won’t be necessary. In Arkansas, a person can secure an outright win without a runoff even if they don’t receive more than 50% of the votes as long as they receive more than 40% and are ahead of the runner-up by 20%.

Ward 1 encompasses south and southeast Fayetteville, including the areas south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Huntsville Road. Mount Sequoyah, Happy Hollow Elementary, and Ramay Junior High School are also included in Ward 1.

The nonpartisan positions are decided by voters who live inside a candidate’s ward boundary, meaning only voters in Ward 1 can cast ballots in the special election (see a ward map here).

City Council members are paid $16,214 per year and serve four-year terms.