NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - After almost 25 years, North Little Rock now has a new mayor. The run-off election ended Tuesday night for the city's top job.
The winner was Joe Smith, who defeated State Representative Tracy Steele. Unofficial results from the Pulaski County Election Commission showed Smith beating Steele by about 1,300 votes. Here is a link to see the exact tallies.
"I just want to thank all the citizens of North Little Rock for getting out and showing how much they love North Little Rock and I promise them that I will manage their city better than any city in the entire state of Arkansas," Smith said.
Smith spent the evening with supporters at this campaign headquarters. He admitted his opponent did a better job getting the voters out in the general election and said that put a jolt in his campaign to step things up this time around, and it seemed to work Tuesday night.
We also stopped by the Tracy Steele camp at the Wyndham Hotel, and he shared some of his thoughts on this race.
"We started a long way behind, we made a lot of ground, just in the end just with a run-off election, you never know what's going to happen, just the uncertainty of a run-off and who shows up to vote but we had a lot of people who showed up to vote just not enough," Steele said.
Steele said he was still happy with how his team ran the campaign and after conceding to the crowd he embraced many supporters with hugs. He also said he wishes Smith the best ahead. As for his future, he didn't give any specific plans; we do know he will leave the Arkansas House at the end of the year.
Smith, who is currently the city's governmental affairs director, said a transition period is up next for him, and he hopes to work with Steele going forward.
The new mayor takes over for long-time North Little Rock leader Patrick Hays. He decided not to run again earlier this year, after serving since 1988.
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Tracy Steele, Joe Smith to meet in runoff election
VIDEO: North Little Rock mayoral race