PORT ARTHUR, Texas — The polls are open for Port Arthur voters to decide whether the city should keep its current mayor or come under new leadership.
Incumbent Mayor Thurman Bartie and challenger Floyd Batiste are competing against one another in a runoff race for the Port Arthur mayor seat.
(Editor's note: The above video is from a May 7, 2022 newscast.)
Early voting for the Port Arthur mayoral election began on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, and will end on June 4, 2022. During this time, voters can cast their votes at polling locations from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Bartie received 47% of the vote during the May elections, and Batiste received 26% of the vote. Bartie and Batiste originally faced off against Willie Lewis and Matthews Christian Jr.
Bartie has held his position since 2019, and Batiste is a new face on the ballot.
Batiste said he is running for Port Arthur mayor because he feels there is a lack of leadership.
"I think there needs to be much better transparency among the council and the people," Batiste said. "I think there needs to be more communication. I think I have a better skill set to move this city to another level."
Batiste described himself as a public servant and a social worker, with a background in the workforce and economic development.
"I spent 24 years with workforce development and 17 years with the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation," Batiste said.
Batiste said he is a man who knows how to look at a problem, solve it and get things done.
“I know how to bring people together," Batiste said. "With the amount of economic activity that’s going on in the community, I think it’s going to take proven leadership to take it to the next level."
Bartie believes he should keep his seat because he said many great things happened in Port Arthur under his leadership. He said those great things can continue if he is voted as mayor. Bartie also said the community believed in him during disaster times.
Bartie said he is a product of Port Arthur schools and plans to continue the progress.
“Our infrastructure, our budget, our streets, everything we are working on now currently, can be continued,” Bartie said. "We can develop Pleasure Island. We can do something with the downtown corridor."
The runoff election is expected to take place on Saturday, June 11, 2022.