Two Pine Bluff aldermen appeared to have successfully defended their seats late Tuesday evening, while a the Ward 1 race was headed to a runoff between Lloyd A. Holcomb Jr. and Alfred Carroll.
The race for the Ward 1 alderman appeared to be heading for a runoff between Holcomb and Carroll as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
Retiring Alderman Irene Holcomb’s son Lloyd A. Holcomb Jr. competed against Milton H. Jenkins, Jean Painton, Melanie D. Perkins and Alfred Carroll to claim his mother’s seat.
Unofficial results as of 10:30 p.m. — with 25 of 28 precincts reporting — showed:
• Holcomb with 1,649 votes or 39.66 percent
• Carroll with 1,260 votes or 30.30 percent
• Jenkins with 704 votes or 16.93 percent
• Perkins with 305 votes or 7.34 percent
• Painton with 240 votes or 5.77 percent
Holcomb was cautiously optimistic about the future and looking forward to a runoff.
“I’m feeling optimistic right now looking at the results,” Holcomb said. “I want to thank my supporters for their hard work and for getting us this far. In a runoff I’ll work even harder and want to encourage everyone to please go out and vote in the runoff.”
Holcomb said he is proud of his mother’s accomplishments but looks to carve out his own legacy.
“I love Pine Bluff and have been a resident of the First Ward for over 37 years,” Holcomb said. “I want to represent the First Ward into a new generation of progress. My campaign theme is ‘A new voice; a new vision; a new brand of politics.’ I intend to move forward in making this city a better place for everyone. We need to reduce crime and make the quality of living better for all residents and put Pine Bluff back on the right track.”
Holcomb said that, if elected, he will work for the betterment of Pine Bluff’s citizens by working to enhance legislation already in place.
Carroll re-emphasized his belief that he is the only candidate with a real plan for addressing the city’s problems.
“It’s been a tough campaign,” Carroll said. “I look forward to finishing what we started and serving the people of Ward 1. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us. I’m the only one of the five candidates that put out tangible kinds of ideas to make a positive impact on this ward.
“I have put out the most comprehensive information on those ideas,” Carroll said during the campaign. “I have not wavered from my focus on education, the economy, the elderly and the youth. We’ve been able to articulate well-thought-out plans on how we will go about doing what we said we will do. I don’t think the other candidates have given thought to the actual nuts and bolts of taking a concept from beginning to accomplishing what you say you will do.”
The Ward 3 race pitting incumbent Glen Brown against Watson Chapel School Board member Ronnie Reynolds and political newcomer Ramone Penister appeared to be an all-out victory for Brown late Tuesday evening.
Unofficial results as of 10:30 p.m. — with 27 of 31 precincts reporting — showed:
• Brown with 2,275 votes or 52.64 percent
• Reynolds with 1,654 votes or 38.27 percent
• Penister with 393 votes or 9.09 percent
Alderman Glen Brown said he believes his love for Pine Bluff and its people have made him a good alderman and will continue to serve him well as a member of the city council.
“I love Pine Bluff,” Brown said. “Nobody can beat me on loving Pine Bluff. Any time anyone calls me I’m going to answer. I have grown up in this ward and I have a whole lot of family in this ward. So it is very important to me what happens here.”
Ronnie Reynolds sought the Ward 3 seat to change what he says is the tendency for city leaders to talk about getting things done without actually getting them done.
“I was tired of seeing business as usual,” Reynolds said of his decision to enter the race. “People are always talking about things but nothing is ever getting done. If elected, I will be a positive difference in the 3rd Ward. I feel that I am the better candidate for the job because I plan to serve all of the citizens of Pine Bluff. I want to meet the people where they are and whatever their needs are.”
Ramone Penister said he ran for Ward 3 alderman in part to combat what he says are complacent city officials.
“I want to see somebody who takes progress seriously,” Penister said. “There needs to be more accountability. We also need to pay our police officers more. Pine Bluff is one of the largest cities in Arkansas and their pay needs to reflect that.”
Ward 4 Alderman George Stepps was positioned to win his race for re-election against challengers Bruce Lockett and Fred Toney.
Stepps said he believes his record as alderman makes him the right choice for Ward 4 voters.
Unofficial results as of 10:30 p.m.— with 14 of 26 precincts reporting — showed:
• Stepps with 1,324 votes or 54.60 percent
• Lockett with 608 votes or 25.07 percent
• Toney with 493 votes or 20.33 percent
“I hope that this trend stands and we can win without a runoff,” Stepps said around 9 p.m. Tuesday night. “We have to change the image of Pine Bluff. We need to be hospitable to all of our citizens, from the top all the way down. It will change the image of our city and won’t cost us anything. I look forward to continuing to serve this community.
“I’ve done a great job in the Fourth Ward,” Stepps said during the campaign. “Anybody who calls me, I respond to them. I always return my calls.”
Stepps pointed to his contribution to getting three homes near the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff constructed.
Bruce Lockett said he wanted to put his experience in grant writing to good use if elected to the Ward 4 seat.
“My background is in community nonprofit organizations with an emphasis on managing city resources,” Lockett said. “I would like to assist local nonprofits in working with city departments such as parks and recreation to apply for grants for youth activities and community development.”
Frederick M. Toney said he wants to do what he can to improve the economy in Pine Bluff.
“Pine Bluff is the anchor of the Southeast Arkansas economy,” Toney said in a press release announcing his candidacy. “The leadership of Pine Bluff has the awesome challenge of creating a competitive environment for economic growth for its citizens and coordinating with county, regional, state and federal agencies to promote and stimulate economic development of this region. I am willing to become a part of the leadership structure of Pine Bluff and will diligently work to build a strong local and regional economy.”
Ward 2 incumbent Charles Boyd was uncontested.