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Early voting for the runoff election between Scott Booth and Scott Bryant over Neal Pendergrass’s Mountain Home Public School Board seat begins today from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Baxter County Courthouse.
Election day is June 6.
Booth had a substantial lead over his opponents on election night May 9, bringing in 2,447 votes (42.9%) to Bryant’s 1,926 (33.8%). Stewart Rogers followed with a respectable 1,327 votes (23.3%).
While Booth earned most of the votes on election night, he did not cross the 50% plus one majority threshold needed in Arkansas to win.
Scott Bryant is a long time Mountain Home resident, having lived in the area for over 26 years. A graduate from Salem High School, Bryant has served as a pharmacist in Mountain Home for much of his career. His wife, Jennifer Bryant, works as a reading interventionist at Hackler Intermediate School.
Bryant’s eldest son graduated from Mountain Home High School in 2020, and his youngest son is currently attending Pinkston Middle.
Bryant has been one of the quieter candidates on the campaign trail, attending events here and there. He participated in KTLO’s political candidate forum on May 2, where he clearly stated that he supported the millage increase for the school district.
“My biggest inspiration comes from my oldest son’s diagnosis with dyslexia in 3rd grade. Our family has seen firsthand how important it is to have a partnership between teachers and parents. I come from a family of educators, and I am passionate about the people who teach our youth as well as the relationships they have with their students and families. I want to be an advocate for both.”
On the other end of the campaign trail, Booth has served as one of the most outspoken school board candidates, often publishing long online posts on Facebook about his thoughts on the issues that the school district is facing.
Booth has spent a large portion of his time on the campaign trail speaking and listening to all staff within the district to better understand the problems they face.
Booth is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served for 11 years on active duty. His bio states that he was deployed several times. He currently operates a weight loss clinic in Mountain Home. During his youth, Booth attended a mix of private and public school education. He also was homeschooled for a short time period.
His wife, Allison Booth, works as an ophthalmologist at Baxter Health and Ozark Eye Center. She is an active surgeon. Booth has lived in Mountain Home for nine years.
The Booth family’s oldest child is currently finishing up her first year at kindergarten in the Mountain Home school district. Their two younger children will be starting school in the district within the next few years.
“The decision to run for MHPS School Board is not something I took lightly. It is a contentious position; the current board has made many hard decisions, and there are many more difficult decisions ahead. My children will be in the school system for the next 15 years, and the decisions made will directly affect them and their education. There is a leadership principle that states: ‘Don’t ask someone to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself.” With that in mind, and my background of being a leader of Marines, being a business owner, and having a vested interest in the welfare of our school district, I could not sit back and say, ‘I’ll let someone else do this difficult job.’ I have chosen to step up and put myself as a candidate to the voters of the Mountain Home Public School District.'”
Unlike his fellow school board candidates, Booth had refused to state if he was for or against the millage on the campaign trail. Instead, Booth has focused on staying in the middle in an attempt to win voters from both sides.
Booth was criticized for his attempt to gain favor with both sides by members of the Mountain Home School Board in a secret text group that was discovered by the Observer in the lead up to the election.