Stage Set for Local GOP Chairmanship Battle

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The stage is set for a battle over the chairmanship of the Washington County Republican Committee.

Washington County Republicans Ralph Hudson and Lance Johnson are running for the chairmanship, setting up a key vote among party members in September.

Hudson, a paralegal and Springdale resident, is vice executive director of the political action committee Conservative Arkansas. He told 5NEWS on Saturday (Aug. 10) he is a candidate for the post.

Johnson, also a Springdale resident and president of Lance Johnson Building Co., confirmed on his Facebook timeline on Saturday that he also is vying for the spot.

The date for the September vote has not been scheduled, but Julie Harris, the interim chairwoman, told 5NEWS in a text on Saturday that a date is expected to be set at the local party’s Aug. 20 monthly meeting. The August meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the GuestHouse Hotel in Fayetteville.

At a campaign event Aug. 7 at Neal’s Cafe in Springdale for Rep. Tom Cotton’s U.S. Senate race, Harris told 5NEWS she is not going to run for the local party leadership post, deciding instead to help direct Republican Robin Lundstrum’s state House campaign.

Harris said the party chairman cannot take a campaign role supporting one Republican over another in a primary election. Republican Lucas Roebuck is challenging Lundstrum for the open House District 87 seat.

Harris recently became chairwoman when Jeff Williams stepped down from the position.

Williams, who also serves as Washington County assessor, told 5NEWS he resigned from the party position in part because of GOP rules prohibiting a chairman from supporting one Republican over another during a primary.

Williams said he has heard the rumors in political circles that he might run for Washington County judge, but he told 5NEWS he has not decided whether to seek that position.

Before resigning, Williams had a year and a couple of months left as local GOP chairman, he said.