LaTisha Brunson handily won in her bid for Pine Bluff Ward 1 council member, while Lanette Frazier unseated Ivan Whitfield in Ward 3 by 35 votes.
Brunson ran strong again in Tuesday's runoff to succeed Joni Alexander, four weeks after nearly attaining the 50% plus one vote to wrap up victory. The interim human resources director at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff defeated retired postal worker Danny Walker 325-143, garnering 69.3% of the votes. There was only one undervote.
"I feel really good," Brunson said. "When it's your purpose and your passion, you find a way to bring it all together. I feel good to be able to represent my city, to represent where I went to school and grew up where my parents were raised, where my grandmother raised her children and where I'm raising my children. I'm feeling absolutely great and I am excited about this journey and serving the people of Ward 1."
In the May 24 primary election, Brunson had 47.78%, or 580 of 1,214 votes in a five-person race to replace Alexander, who decided not to run for re-election. Walker had only 19.93%, or 242.
"I made sure I connected with the community," Brunson said. "I made sure that I was visible. I made sure I called and knocked on doors and I did everything to make sure people knew who I was and why I was running this race. It was a lot, but it was so worth it because I know why I ran and I won. I look at the fact that people heard me and people are ready for a change."
In Ward 3, former city administrative assistant Frazier outgained former police chief Whitfield 328-293, earning 52.8% of the votes. Her victory was a remarkable turnaround from four weeks earlier, when she had 33.53% of the votes to incumbent Whitfield's 47.73%.
DeShawn Bennett, who had missed securing a win for Vaugine Township constable by 32 votes, easily won over Leon Warren Sr. 922-328, with 49 undervotes. Bennett earned 71% of the votes.
Only a fraction of total voters in the primary election turned out for each runoff. There were 1,211 total votes in the Ward 3 race on May 24, and Whitfield had a 578-406 edge over Frazier at the time. Bennett had earned 2,116 of 4,275 votes in his primary, while Warren had 864.
Mayor Shirley Washington endorsed both Brunson and Frazier.
All three races were Democratic primaries. There were no Republican challengers.