PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) - On Tuesday, voters of Pine Bluff elected business woman Debe Hollingsworth as mayor.
"We were thinking maybe we might make the run-off," said mayor-elect Hollingsworth.
The race which caught many by surprise, and perhaps no one was more surprised than the candidate herself. With 49 percent of the vote, the self-proclaimed underdog said it is her first political run ever.
Hollingsworth was the only caucasian with eight African-Americans running aside her in a city comprised of predominantly black voters. Although it has been nearly two decades, Hollingsworth is not the first white female to serve as Pine Bluff's mayor. Carolyn Robinson served as mayor in 1985.
In a phone call Wednesday with THV 11 News, Robinson congratulated Hollingsworth on a win and feels she will take the city in the right direction.
Hollingsworth said she has owned and operated her own business with more than 300 employees, and she has worked as a stockbroker and a financial advisor. She says minding the dollars and cents of the city will not be a problem.
"That part is second nature to me," said Hollingsworth.
She says transparency will be at the forefront of her administration.
"People need to understand how we arrived at a decision and what we're thinking," said Hollingsworth.
The mayor-elect says she is already at work.
"I've already put together a committee of five," said Hollingsworth.
The Pine Bluff Police Department has seen its share of controversy, and Hollingsworth calls the handing of the Cleashindra Hall case, a 20-year-old cold case, a tragedy for the city and even more so for the Hall family.
"I will say under the new watch, I'm in hopes that we will be able to solve some of the unsolved cases," said Hollingsworth.
She would not comment specifically on whether she will keep Pine Bluff's current police chief Brenda Davis-Jones.
"There will be some changes, and that's all I'd like to say about that," said Hollingsworth.
The mayor-elect does not buy into the claim she won the race based on a split African-American vote.
"I don't think so. With the demographics the way that they are you had to have a clear percentage of the African-American votes to be able to win," said Hollingsworth.