Democrats challenge GOP effort to put new candidate in Washington County judge race | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 18, 2016

Democrats challenge GOP effort to put new candidate in Washington County judge race

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 4:32 PM

MICAH NEAL: Lawsuit challenges 'pretext' he offered for dropping out of county judge race.
  • MICAH NEAL: Lawsuit challenges 'pretext' he offered for dropping out of county judge race.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas has sued to stop an attempted 11th-hour maneuver by the Republican Party to field a candidate for Washington County judge.

State Rep. Micah Neal was expected to be the Republican nominee. But he decided June 30 not to seek the office, citing a desire to devote more time to business and family. That excuse wasn't sufficient for a party to replace a nominee. So Neal then announced that he would move out of Washington County, to Benton County. When a candidate moves out of a district that can be a reason for a party to find another candidate. The Democratic nominee is Mark Kinion.

The lawsuit, filed for the party and County Democratic Party Chair Tyler Clark by Chris Burks, says Neal did not "lawfully withdraw" and they are trying to protect a fair and orderly election process. The suit is against the Republican County Committee and the State Party as well as those seeking to have the nomination and the county clerk.

The lawsuit notes that Neal changed his stated reason for dropping out July 1 after a newspaper article appeared quoting his original statement. In this subsequent statement, he said he was "moving." But on July 1, he remained on the voter rolls at an address in Washington County. In a letter to the county clerk, also a defendant, Neal said he wanted to withdraw because he'd be moving by August. The lawsuit notes that Neal's business is in Washington County and his only property in Benton County is an investment property he owns with Lance Eads in Gentry. It also notes that though Neal says he is moving outside of Washington County he has given no indication he intends to resign from his state legislative seat, representing a district entirely within Washington County.

Burks argues that a vacancy occurs only when a nominee dies, is seriously ill or moved out of the area from which he was nominated. When that happens, a political party has five days to notify the governor and then a proclamation must be made on filling the vacancy.

Neal did not give a lawful reason for refusal of the nomination. His subsequent attempt to supplement or alter the reason was a "mere pretext for the reason reason," Burks said.

"This after-the-fact attempt to cover up the real reason for Neal’s refusal is inconsistent with the democratic process and must be rejected as violating both the letter and spirit of Arkansas election law pertaining to vacancies in nomination.

"Moreover, as of the date of his refusal of nomination, Neal had not moved out of Washington County. A possible move at an unspecified future date does not satisfy the requirements of Ark. Code. Ann. § 7-7-104(c)(1).
The suit says Neal remains a Washington County resident and representative and his withdrawal failed to meet the five-day notice requirement. It asks the Washington Circuit Court for a declaratory judgment that the Republican Committee is not permitted to field another candidate.


Could Neal change his mind and run for judge after all? Said Burks:

"We trust that the Court will make all parties follow the law. We do not believe that there will be a Republican nominee for Washington County Judge because the lawful process was not followed in the time for it to be followed." 

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016
  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016

Most Shared

  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation