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Little Rock attorney files to run against Womack for seat on Arkansas Supreme Court


LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — A Little Rock attorney launched a bid against a north Arkansas judge for the state Supreme Court on Monday, making his candidacy official minutes before the filing deadline for next year's election.

Clark Mason filed to run for the state Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Paul Danielson, who announced earlier this year he wouldn't seek re-election. Circuit Judge Shawn Womack announced in May he was running for the seat, and filed his paperwork last week.

"I am running for the Arkansas Supreme Court because Arkansans need someone who understands the law, follows the law and practices the law working for the people of Arkansas," Mason said in a statement released by his campaign. "I have hands-on experience in the courtroom representing our citizens."

Mason, 56, told reporters the race is his first run for elected office and said he looked forward to campaigning on the trail. He didn't offer any specific proposals that he'd campaign on in the race.

Womack, a former Republican state legislator, has served as a circuit judge in the 14th judicial district since 2009.

Mason's filing means voters will have two contested Supreme Court races next year. Circuit Judge Dan Kemp and Justice Courtney Goodson are running for chief justice in next year's election. The two are running to replace interim Chief Justice Howard Brill, who is serving the remainder of former Chief Justice Jim Hannah's term. Hannah stepped down from the court earlier this year due to unspecified health problems.

The races follow an unusually public dispute among justices over the court's handling of the lawsuit over Arkansas' gay marriage ban. Hannah and Danielson criticized others on the court for creating a separate case over which justices could hear the gay marriage appeal, a move the two called a delay tactic.

The court dismissed the gay marriage case in June, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage nationwide.

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