Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer
FAYETTEVILLE — Planning Commissioner Mike Wiederkehr will fill the empty seat on the City Council after taking 49% of the votes in the Feb. 8 special election, according to final but unofficial vote counts.
Wiederkehr, 65, defeated challengers Leslie Belden (27%) and Kristen Scott (24%) to take over the Ward 2, Position 2 seat left vacant by Matthew Petty, who resigned in October.
A runoff won’t be necessary. In Arkansas, a person can secure an outright win without a runoff even if they don’t receive more than 50% of the votes as long as they receive more than 40% and are ahead of the runner-up by 20%.
Mike Wiederkehr / Courtesy photo
Wiederkehr will serve the remainder of the term through Dec. 31, 2024.
There were 742 votes cast, according to Jennifer Price, the county’s election director. Price said there are nine provisional votes and one overseas vote that still need to be counted, but it’s unlikely those will affect the results. Price said results will be certified as official on Feb. 18
Wiederkehr received 362 votes, while Belden received 202 votes. Scott received 178 votes.
Wiederkehr has 32 years of municipal government experience.
He has held city government positions in human resources, economic development, building and safety, and public works. He began that career in Fort Worth, Texas before spending 30 years in Glendale, California.
Ward 2, which is typically associated with the downtown and Dickson Street areas, includes portions of the University of Arkansas campus and stretches west past Garland Avenue to Asbell Elementary School, and north to the Washington County Fairgrounds. The ward also includes the businesses along College Avenue in midtown, and many historic districts including Wilson Park.
City Council members are paid $12,504 per year and serve four-year terms. Wiederkehr will serve the remainder of Petty’s term through Dec. 31, 2024.
Fulfer defeats Parks in District 7
Also on Tuesday’s special election ballot was a contest to fill the vacant state Senate District 7 seat.
Republican Colby Fulfer defeated Lisa Parks, the first Democratic challenger of the seat in 10 years.
Fulfer won the seat by only 34 votes out of 4,030 cast in the election. He received 2,032 (50.4%) votes, while Parks received 1,998 (49.6%).