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Loretta Hendrix drops bid for Little Rock mayor, will seek late mother’s Ward 1 seat instead

She will seek her late mother’s Ward 1 seat on the Board of Directors instead by Joseph Flaherty | May 13, 2022 at 3:23 a.m.
Loretta Hendrix, the daughter of the late Little Rock City Director Erma Hendrix, addresses members of the Little Rock Board of Directors at a Sept. 21, 2021, meeting. (Democrat-Gazette file photo)

Loretta Hendrix, who unsuccessfully sought an appointment to the Ward 1 seat on the Little Rock Board of Directors previously held by her late mother and later announced her intent to run for mayor, said this week that she will run for the Ward 1 seat instead.

The seat is currently held by City Director Virgil Miller Jr., 69, whom city board members appointed last October to fill the remainder of Erma Hendrix's term after Hendrix died in office last September at age 91.

When reached by phone Thursday, Loretta Hendrix, 73, suggested individuals had called her to say that she should run for her late mother's seat.

Additionally, Hendrix said she wants to work on historic preservation.

She said that "there's no emphasis on historic preservation coming out of City Hall now, so I thought that in order to stabilize Ward 1 ... I need to make a bid for the seat."

The official filing period for Little Rock elected offices has yet to begin.

Seven wards in Little Rock each elect a representative to serve on the city board, and three at-large representatives are elected by the city's entire voting population.

Ward 1 includes the downtown Little Rock core and neighboring communities.

Erma Hendrix represented Ward 1 on the city board for more than a decade and was most recently re-elected in 2018. After her death, twenty people, including Loretta Hendrix, applied to fill the vacancy.

Miller has said he intends to run for a full term of his own in this year's election. Also seeking the Ward 1 seat is Kenyon Lowe, the chairman of the board of the city's public housing authority.

In January, Hendrix said she planned to run for mayor during the 2022 election. At the time, she said she had long intended to run for mayor.

"I want to make sure that the people of Little Rock get a chance to express their views," Hendrix said in January.

The first round of the nonpartisan mayoral contest will take place Nov. 8; if no candidate secures 40% of the vote, a runoff election between the top two candidates will take place the following month.

Incumbent Mayor Frank Scott Jr., 38, is seeking a second term. Food blogger Greg Henderson and businessman Steve Landers Sr. have said they plan to run for mayor.

Hendrix is registered to vote under the last name Welch as a Democrat, according to voter registration records of the Arkansas secretary of state's office. She said by phone Thursday that she has always used her maiden name of Hendrix, which she described as her legal surname.

Hendrix said she did not want it publicized that she is registered to vote under the name Welch. She later suggested she would look into amending her voter-registration information after the primary election this month.

She is the second individual to drop out of the Little Rock mayoral race after announcing a prospective campaign.

Pamela Whitaker, a businesswoman and nonprofit founder who announced a bid for mayor last September, later opted to run for state treasurer. She is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Hendrix previously ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign in 2011 for a seat on the Little Rock School Board.

Her failure to pay $130 of a $150 fine associated with a consent order was the subject of a 2013 complaint against her filed by the Arkansas Ethics Commission in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Hendrix had been fined and issued a public letter of caution after she failed to file timely reports on her lobbying activities, court filings show. In a previous interview, Hendrix attributed it to a system malfunction.

An Ethics Commission attorney later confirmed in a court filing that the outstanding balance had been paid.

Print Headline: Loretta Hendrix drops LR mayoral bid

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