Baker Kurrus, the businessman routed by Frank Scott Jr. in a runoff for mayor in 2018, will distribute a lengthy statement tonight endorsing Steve Landers for mayor over Scott.

Let’s get all the noise out of the way. Kurrus has been a critic of Scott previously. He is a smart guy and knows his views will be viewed by some (many?) as sour grapes. He has worked with Landers. There are a sizable number of people, particularly liberals who backed Warwick Sabin, edged out of the 2018 runoff, who view Kurrus as an unwelcome interloper in 2018 and still view him harshly.


All of which is to say: With a handful of people, I’m not sure a Kurrus endorsement adds much to the anti-Scott vote, except perhaps with a few who’ve known Kurrus for years, appreciate his advocacy for public schools over 15 years and particularly admire his stand on principle against the charter school explosion, a position for which he was fired by the Hutchinson administration as Little Rock school superintendent.

Here’s Kurrus’ pitch.


UPDATE: He later sent me a shorter, edited version.

The first version was long and too rooted in facts to be made into a 30-second commercial, the core of politics today. But it’s a product of study, of which politics are in far too short supply today.


He says Landers’ successful business career does translate into city executive leadership and if he’s elected he’ll build a good team. If he asks Kurrus, he’ll serve, he said.

He faults Scott for failure to work with the City Board. He has not delivered on promises, particularly in the Police Department. Department heads are confused by lines of authority at City Hall. He hasn’t delivered unity or transparency. He exaggerates (a kind word) such things as job creation and crime statistics. He’s rewarded campaigners with fat jobs and cronyism has become a hallmark of the Scott administration. He’s spent heavily on a police security detail and growth in administrative jobs, while parks and other city endeavors have suffered. LITFest? Enough said already. But Kurrus comments:


Rather than accept responsibility for his own wrongful actions and mismanagement, Scott blamed the failure on the city attorney and others. The city attorney did not handle the secret foundation agreement. Scott’s chief of staff negotiated all of that, and it is difficult to believe Scott, his former chief of staff, his current chief of staff, and the owners of Think Rubix were not in communication about it all, knowing that it was wrong.

In summary, even if Scott had done what he had promised, I do not think he is fit to serve. He is not dealing openly and fairly with the citizens, the city budget or the city’s employees. He boasts of things that he has not done. He has mismanaged the city’s largest departments, and he has no plan to do better.

I think this is fair criticism, rooted in facts. Is it enough to vote for Landers, backed by a retrograde-Republican-backed dark money onslaught? To vote for a car dealer whose own Republican proclivities and public statements on important progressive issues — abortion, gun safety, LGBT — are at odds with prevailing sentiment in blue Little Rock and at odds with Frank Scott’s unequivocal positions?

That is a much harder question.


A much easier question for me would be if the choice was Kurrus or Scott.

Greg Henderson and Glen Schwarz are also running. So there’s that.