A judge has sided with Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth in finding that the city's next mayoral election shouldn't be until 2016.
Circuit Judge Ted Capeheart of Ashdown ruled from the bench after a hearing Thursday in Pine Bluff, Hollingsworth said.
The mayor, who was elected to a four-year term in 2012, filed a lawsuit last month challenging the Jefferson County Election Commission's move to add former Mayor Carl Redus to the May primary ballot as he sought to run again for his old position.
Redus contended that Pine Bluff's population fell below 50,000 and that Arkansas law calls for mayoral elections in nonpresidential election cycles for cities of that size.
Hollingsworth, who was elected to a four-year term in 2012, said Capeheart's ruling was a "big win for the citizens."
"That's what it really was all about," she said. "You didn't want to disenfranchise their vote."
An appeal could be filed within 30 days, but Hollingsworth said she is confident higher courts would reach the same decision and noted there's not much time before the May 6 primary. Hollingsworth said Capeheart ordered no votes for mayor be counted in the primary, including on absentee and overseas ballots that have already been printed and sent out.
"The clock is ticking, so if they were to appeal, they've got to do it real quick," she said.
Hollingsworth said she is "thankful" to have confidence she will serve a four-year term.
"I was elected for four years," she said. "I knew that I had to get some serious work done in four years, and now I'm able to continue on with it, and I'm looking forward to it."