WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Washington County Republicans are looking for a new county judge candidate, after Micah Neal dropped out of the race.
In a letter to the Washington County Clerk, Neal stated he would be leaving the race since he planned to move to a different county.
County Republicans said they were surprised by Neal’s announcement.
"Neal is very well-known in the county," Tom Lundstrum, a member of the Washington County Republicans, said Tuesday (July 12). "He is long established as a servant here, so we felt confident that he was going to win that election."
Neal submitted his withdrawal from the race July 8. According to Lundstrum, Neal's reasons for dropping out of the race allow the party to replace him with another candidate, but Washington County Democrats said they are still looking into the legality of the replacement.
"We are still reviewing if that criteria has been met yet or not," said Tyler Clark, chairman of the Washington County Democrats.
Clark said Neal needed to show proof of his intention to move to Benton County before the Republicans could move forward with a new candidate.
"Neal has flip-flopped a few times on whether he planning to move or not," Clark said. "We want to be able to protect the integrity of the ballot and the integrity of the votes because this vote is too important to leave to chance."
In the meantime, County Republicans said they plan to move forward with looking for someone else to run on the republican ticket.
Lundstrum said they have contacted Governor Asa Hutchinson and plan to hold a county convention August 4 when about 350 members will vote on the candidates who meet the qualifications for office.
"I think at this point [the election] is ours to lose," Lundstrum said.