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Micah Neal says he's dropping out of Washington County judge race

by Doug Thompson | June 30, 2016 at 10:59 p.m.
Micah Neal

SPRINGDALE — State Rep. Micah Neal, R-Springdale, the Republican nominee for Washington County Judge, is dropping out of the race for family and business reasons, he said Thursday night.

Neal’s family owns Neal’s Cafe in Springdale, a local landmark. Neal said Thursday night he’ll file a letter with the Washington County Clerk, as the law requires, giving notice of his decision to withdraw. Neal said the county Republican Party can hold a caucus to name his replacement.

Tyler Clark, chairman of the Washington County Democratic Party, said the law doesn’t allow replacement of a candidate this soon before the Nov. 8 general election unless the candidate in question dies, moves out of the county or district his office represents, or suffers an incapacitating illness.

Democratic candidate Mark Kinion, a Fayetteville alderman for Ward 2, would be the only candidate left on the November ballot if Clark’s interpretation is correct. There are no independent candidates running.

Neal represents state House District 89 and is a former member of the Washington County Quorum Court. He chose to run for county judge rather than seek re-election to a third term. Former county assessor Jeff Williams is running for his House replacement as the Republican nominee, opposed by Democratic candidate Irvin Camacho.

Neal’s lawmaking career included sponsorship of a bill speeding up state reimbursement to counties for the medical care that state prisoners receive while in county custody.

Being home with his kids more and the chance to bring his state experience back to the county level were Neal’s reasons for leaving the Legislature, he said in earlier interviews. He said he has pushed for money for rural water projects and the crowded county jail as a lawmaker and planned to continue doing so as a county judge.

The county judge’s race had no incumbent this year. County Judge Marilyn Edwards didn’t run for re-election, although she did unsuccessfully run in the Democratic primary for a Quorum Court seat. She was defeated by incumbent Eva Madison.


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