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story.lead_photo.caption North Little Rock City Hall is shown in this 2020 file photo. ( Stephen Simpson )

The two candidates in North Little Rock's hotly contested mayoral runoff have raised a little more than $91,000 in a month's span, with former Mayor Terry Hartwick raising the bulk of that money .

Hartwick and Tracy Steele were the top vote-getters in the Nov. 3 general election race, which also included Alice Kunce, a teacher at Dunbar Middle School in the Little Rock School District, and Debi Ross, a City Council member who represents Ward 1. Steele received 11,291 votes, Hartwick had 8,121.

The winner of Tuesday's runoff will succeed Mayor Joe Smith, who chose not to run for reelection and will leave office in January after two terms.

The candidates' latest campaign finance report is the second they have filed this month, and that's because of the race going to a runoff.

Hartwick currently is the city's director of parks and recreation, and was North Little Rock's mayor from 1985-88. On Oct. 9, 2019, he announced his plan to again seek the office, becoming the first candidate in this election cycle to formally announce his intentions to run for mayor.

Hartwick has raised $79,557 in contributions since Nov. 4, according to his campaign financial report filed Nov. 24. He had $16,446.81 in his campaign fund before the latest donations. He reported spending $8,437.50, leaving him with $87,566.31.

The maximum contribution allowed for the 2020 election cycle is $2,800. Hartwick received four donations of that amount from Ashley Management partner Rick Ashley, philanthropist LuAnn Ashley, philanthropist Frank Fletcher and Norman Clifton Auto Parts owner Normon Clifton.

Hartwick reported in his first campaign finance report that he had raised $223,553 in contributions – the most among candidates at that time.

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

According to Steele's financial campaign report filed Nov. 24, he has raised $11,510 in contributions since Nov. 24 adding to the $14,642.48 reported earlier. Steele reported spending $18,263.12, according to his campaign financial report, leaving him with $7,889.36.

Steele didn't receive any donations of more than $1,500. Most of his contributors gave between $200 and $500, according to his latest financial contributions report.

Steele reported in his first campaign finance report raising $116,281.51 in contributions, second-most among the candidates at the time.

State law requires candidates to submit pre-election reports no later than seven days before the election if they have an opponent and have raised or spent more than $500, not counting the filing fee. A candidate also must submit a final report no later than 30 days after the end of the month of the election.

Penalties for violating the state law that requires filing such forms range from cautionary letters to fines from the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

State law allows candidates to fund their campaigns with an unlimited amount of their own money, reported as loans from themselves, which can be paid off with campaign contributions from others.

North Little Rock mayoral runoff
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