Port Arthur mayoral race heads into second round

The race for mayor of Port Arthur is heading for a second round.

With the 36 declared voting centers and 7,747 ballots cast, no candidate crossed the 50% threshold.

Incumbent Thurman “Bill” Bartie was in the lead with 47.28% of the vote, more than 20 percentage points over the closest candidate, economic development consultant Floyd Batiste, who got 26.44% of the vote .

After Bartie and Bastite, 45-year Valero employee Willie “Bae” Lewis, Jr. and retired Motiva supervisor Matthews Christian, Jr. received 17.83% and 8.45% of the vote, respectively.

Bartie, who has been mayor since 2019, declined to comment.

Batiste said that while he would have preferred to win in the first round, he is ready to campaign in the second round.

He said he would continue to focus on his main campaign issues.

“Lack of leadership in this community, transparency, open communication with people and moving this city to another level,” Batiste said.

While the majority of voters may not have voted for him, Batiste said he believed the people of Port Arthur recognized his vision and wanted to move forward.

Lewis said he knew a runoff would be possible once the field of candidates grew to four.

He said he and his entire team would support Batiste in the second round.

“Me and my people are going to support Floyd Batiste – Thurman Bartie is going to go,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he believed his supporters combined with those of Batiste would be enough to topple Bartie.

Christian said he was disappointed with the election results, but it won’t be the last the city sees him.

“It’s the first time I (run) and I wish I had more (vote),” he said.

He plans to run for city council next year.

“A lot of voters didn’t know me,” he said. “(For) many of them, it was the first time they met me, listened to my ideas and my opinions.”

Christian said he regrets not campaigning earlier in the race.

“I felt like I could have campaigned a little harder,” he said. “So I don’t blame the voters for that. I blame myself.”

No date has been set for the run-off election, but according to Port Arthur’s charter, the run-off must take place at least 10 days and no more than 30 days after polling day.

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