After a three-hour meeting in Fayetteville last night, Washington County Republicans selected Joseph Wood to be their new candidate for county judge, KFSM 5News reports. Wood, of Fayetteville, is currently the deputy secretary of state, a position he has held since 2011. 

Wood topped state Sen. Jon Woods and former state Sen. Bill Pritchard after the three candidates gave five-minute speeches to the assembled party members. 

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The county GOP elected Wood to replace State Rep. Micah Neal of Springdale, who had been the Republican nominee but decided on June 30 not to seek the office, citing a desire to devote more time to business and family. That left the Republican party scrambling. The law doesn’t allow the party to replace a candidate on the ballot this late in the process except in cases of death or incapacitating illness, or if the candidate moves out of the county or district. So Neal then changed his tune and announced that he was dropping out because he was moving out of Washington County, to Benton County (even though Neal continues to represent his legislative district, which is entirely in Washington County, and the family restaurant he owns is in Springdale).

The Democratic Party of Arkansas sued last month to attempt to stop the eleventh-hour shenanigans. That lawsuit is ongoing and will now add Wood as a defendant. 

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The Democratic nominee is Fayetteville Alderman Mark Kinion and the election is set for November. 

postscript: Worth watching — Wood told a reporter that he will not resign from his position at the secretary of state’s office and plans to campaign on his own time. Not that the secretary of state’s office has anything to do

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