What started off as a highly touted three-way race between Ron Tilley, Seth Smith and Brandon Martin was narrowed down to two candidates during the general election on Tuesday, November 6 leaving Smith and Martin in the runoff of the decade for Mena.
After nine months on the campaign trail, one of which being the extra month for the runoff, Mena finally has a new mayor, Seth Smith.
Smith will officially take office in January, starting Mena off in 2019 with a decisively new look in city hall. Both Martin and Smith have run their campaigns on promises of reform in form or another. Smith’s platform from the beginning has been one of fixing the infrastructure of the city so as to improve current businesses and accommodate and attract possible future businesses, while Martin’s message has been one of cleaning up the city, building a community center and attracting new businesses.
Current Mayor George McKee has been the city’s primary elected official for the past twelve years. McKee’s announcement that he wasn’t running in this year’s election really seemed to open up the door for candidates with new ideas, opinions and fresh perspectives on how the city should be run to step up.
The race for mayor has included one debate, countless opportunities for candidates to speak to the citizens of Mena at various venues such as Lions Club meetings, senior citizen centers and has even spread through social media. Ardent supporters of both Martin and Smith have been adamant for their candidates and made sure to attend the polls in both the November general and December runoff election.
Smith, is a local business owner, a military veteran, former volunteer firefighter and Polk County Sheriff Officer will have an entirely new title starting in January, the title of Mayor of Mena.
With a total of 1,033 voters turning out for the runoff race for mayor, Smith claimed 69.84 percent of the votes. The final count of 720 for Smith and 311 for Police Chief Brandon Martin clearly shows Smith to be the people’s choice.