Croom, McClendon in runoff for West Memphis Mayor’s seat
City’s new leader still undecided following general election
West Memphis voters, spurred by crime and blight, stood in long lines at polls all across the city to elect two candidates to move onto a runoff from a field of six vying for mayor. Wayne Croom paced the pack amassing 1,494 votes for 27 percent of the total vote. Marco McClendon placed second with 1,312 votes for 24 percent.
Ramona Taylor, Eric Johnson, and Lorenzo Parker finished in that order in the next pack with low double digit returns as Fred Leonard brought up the rear with eight percent of the ballots.
West Memphis will have a new mayor for the first time since 1999 as Bill Johnson opted not to run again. The top two candidates wished each other well for the run-off race.
McClendon and Croom offered congratulations to one another and looked forward to a showdown race on December 4. “I am honored for the opportunity to be in the runoff,” said McClendon. “I am glad the people believed enough in me to give me a chance. If elected mayor, I look to unite the city.”
“The work is just now beginning for the run-off,” said Croom. “I appreciated everyone that voted for me this run. Next run it will be even more important to vote.”
Some polling places in the city did not have enough machines. Lehr Arena hosted five precincts with only four polling booths.
An estimated 220 citizens disgusted with the wait walked out without voting.
The Quorum court turned its back on a viable option to reduce waiting lines.
“We asked Quorum Court for vote centers in West Memphis and Earle but were turned down,” said Quorum Court Justice Lisa O’Neal.
Other West Memphis races ended with mixed results for incumbents and provided a new face for a vacated
seat. West Memphis has a new City Clerk set to be sworn in for the new year. Chal- lenger Joyce Gray took 65 percent of the votes defeating incumbent Phillip Para . Ward 1 Incumbent James Holt took 70 percent of the votes to retain his city council seat against Brad Roe.
Charles Wheeless bested Jack Poff Jr., with 59 percent of the vote in Ward 3 alderman.
City Councilwoman Helen Harris won re-election with 51.73 percent of the vote against two challengers, Al Felton and Donald Boyd, narrowly avoiding a runoff.
By John Rech