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story.lead_photo.caption From left: Terry Hartwick, Alice Kunce, Tracy Steele and Debi Ross

Tracy Steele led a field of four candidates in the North Little Rock mayoral race based on unofficial and incomplete results late Tuesday night.

Steele, Terry Hartwick, Alice Kunce and Debi Ross were running to succeed Mayor Joe Smith, who chose not to run for reelection and will leave office in January after serving two terms.

With partial returns at 10:35 p.m., unofficial results were:

Steele 10,275

Hartwick 7,235

Ross 4,135

Kunce 898

The mayor serves a four-year term, with a salary of $128,220 annually.

Hartwick, 71, served as the city's mayor from 1985-88 and is currently director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

Steele, 56, is a member of the North Little Rock School Board and previously served in the state House of Representatives and the state Senate. It is the second time Steele has run for mayor, having lost to Smith in a runoff in 2012.

Kunce, 36, is a teacher at Dunbar Middle School in the Little Rock School District.

Ross, 66, is a City Council member who represents Ward 1, a seat she has held since 2007.

Steele, director of the Arkansas Health Services Permit Agency, announced Nov. 4, 2019, that he would make a second bid to become mayor. He ran in 2012 and led a field of four on election night before losing to Smith in a runoff.

[RELATED: Full coverage of elections in Arkansas »]

Steele said his goal as mayor would be to continue to build on the success the city has experienced. He wants to focus on neglected areas of the city, saying some older communities such as Rose City, Glenview and Dixie have been forgotten.

Steele is in his second three-year term as a member of the School Board and touted his experience with the district. He said the district doesn't just serve as a place for young people to get an education, but also as an economic engine for the city.

Hartwick announced Oct. 9, 2019, his intentions of running for mayor, becoming the first candidate to formally announce his plans.

Hartwick said he would open pandemic offices in various parts of the city to help address related issues, including testing and test results. He also said he wants to focus on some of the underserved parts of the city along East Broadway and Camp Robinson. Among his goals is to bring urgent care facilities to those areas.

Hartwick touted his experience with the Chamber of Commerce and said he wants to attract good-paying jobs to North Little Rock. A mountain bike trail is another goal; Hartwick said he believes such attractions can help bring in businesses.

The former mayor also said he would create a 911-type program for residents to call and report problems within their neighborhoods -- such as potholes -- and then get someone out to repair it in two to three days.

Ross was the last candidate to enter the mayor's race, announcing her intention of running Aug. 5, the last day of the filing period.

If elected, she said she plans to sit down with people from all neighborhoods to identify problem areas and make progress on them.

Ross has touted Camp Robinson, a military base in the city limits that serves as headquarters for the Arkansas National Guard, as the focus of her economic development plan.

Ross is a former chairman of the Camp Robinson/Camp Pike Community Council, an organization where members help find opportunities to support the military installation.

Ross said previously that she would return to her Ward 1 seat on the City Council for another two years if she failed to win the mayor's race. Her first year on the City Council was 2007.

Kunce announced her intention of running March 17 and said she wanted to give attention to neglected areas such as Pike Avenue, East Broadway, Camp Robinson and MacArthur Drive.

She said her top priority as mayor would be infrastructure, describing it as the intersection where the city can make life more equitable for all residents.

Another of Kunce's priorities would be construction of a public aquatic center with indoor and outdoor regulation-size pools. She emphasized such a center should be built near Pike Avenue, East Broadway or a similar juncture.

The four candidates in the mayoral race raised close to a combined $374,000 in campaign contributions, with a bulk of the money raised by Hartwick and Steele. Hartwick raised the most among candidates, with $223,554 in donations. Steele reported raising $116,281.51.


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