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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Stephanie Orman campaigns Tuesday along North Walton Boulevard in Bentonville. She defeated Jim Webb in the mayoral runoff.

BENTONVILLE -- Stephanie Orman will be the new mayor of Bentonville, come 2019. Orman defeated Jim Webb in Tuesday's runoff election.

The complete but unofficial vote totals were:

Orman: 3,226 (63 percent)

Webb: 1,873 (37 percent)

There were 6,957 ballots cast in this year's midterm runoffs in Benton County, 5,099 of which were in the Bentonville mayoral race. There are 29,382 registered voters in Bentonville, which means the runoff election saw a 17 percent voter turnout.

Orman said she didn't know what the results would be or expect to win by such a margin.

"I just knew we had a lot of supporters," she said. "And we made sure we were addressing the concerns of the people."

Being accessible at forums, coffee roundtables and other campaigning events likely played a large role in Orman's victory, she said.

"I'm just truly thankful to the residents of Bentonville," she said, also thanking her family, volunteers, supporters and the other four mayoral candidates.

"It's been a long journey for all of us," she said.

Webb didn't respond to a voicemail before 10 p.m.

Webb and Orman entered into the runoff after being the top vote-getters in the Nov. 6 general election, receiving 5,595 (43 percent) and 5,193 (40 percent) respectively. They were two of five candidates in the mayoral race.

Either would have had to receive a majority, which is 50 percent plus one vote, or would have had to receive 40 percent of the vote and be 20 percent ahead of the second-closest candidate in order to win the general election outright.

Orman, 43, has served on the City Council since 2015. She represents Ward 1 and is also on the animal shelter task force. She's the director of social media and community involvement with McLarty Daniel Automotive Group in Bentonville.

Webb, 37, is a senior national account manager for Walmart and Sam's Club businesses at Backyard Discovery and Step2 in Bentonville. He served on the City Council from 2015 to February. He resigned from the City Council because he moved out of the ward he was representing.

Both candidates' platforms included supporting first responders to ensure city safety as growth continues as well as making infrastructure a priority. Orman said she'd consider proposing a tax increase in order to support a bond sale to pay for infrastructure needs while Webb said he'd find money within the budget by reducing waste and extending the lifespan of other resources, such as city vehicles.

Orman also ran on her desire to continue to invest in quality of life initiatives. Webb said he would also focus on reducing wasteful spending in the city budget, if elected.

Webb raised nearly four times as much money, had nearly two and a half times as many contributions and spent three times more than Orman during the campaign for the general and runoff elections, according to pre-election finance reports.

Between the two elections, Orman raised $14,045 with 40 contributions and spent $20,228. Webb raised $53,950 with 95 contributions and spent $61,881. Both candidates also took out loans to finance their campaigning efforts.

The candidates tussled the weeks between the general and runoff elections.

Orman drew attention to mailers a Washington, D.C.-based political action committee sent supporting Webb days before the general election. She called for the other mayoral candidates to denounce the use of outside money in the local, nonpartisan race.

Webb said he spent many conversations with people explaining the PAC supported him by sending mailers out on his behalf, without his approval, and it didn't give money directly to his campaign.

Webb also spent time before the runoff denying allegations he offered John Skaggs, an opponent in the general election, a job in return for his endorsement.

Skaggs sent an email to Orman shortly after the general election saying Webb had made the offer. Orman and Skaggs said they exchanged a couple emails before Orman sent the allegations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mayor Bob McCaslin will retire after 12 years as the city's leader. Orman will take the helm Jan. 1. The mayor's position is a four-year term and pays an annual salary of $132,954.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Sharon Rose (left) with the Benton County Election Commission hands Stephanie Blevins an "I voted" sticker after Blevins cast her ballot Tuesday at Bentonville Church of Christ in the mayoral runoff.

NW News on 12/05/2018

Print Headline: Orman wins Bentonville mayor race

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