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AR: High Turnout, Tornado Warnings Expected

By Rob Stein
State election officials were keeping a close eye on the weather in Arkansas today.

"There were tornado watches across the state," said Natasha Naragon of the secretary of state's office. "That's always worrisome. Weather affects turn-out. We're keeping our fingers crossed."

But officials were still expecting a big turn-out. More than 59,000 voters had submitted ballots in early voting, surpassing the number of early voters in the previous two presidential elections, Naragon said. Thirty-seven thousand of the early voters were Democrats and 20,000 were Republicans, she said.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wife of a former governor, and Mike Huckabee, a former governor, were seeking to capitalize on their deep ties to the state.

Forty-seven delegates are in play for Democrats and 34 are at stake for Republicans. Both parties distribute their delegates on a proportional basis.

For the Republicans, 19 delegates will be distributed based on the statewide vote while 12 will be allocated based on the vote in each of the four congressional districts--unless one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote. In that case that candidate gets all the delegates. The remaining three delegates already are committed to Huckabee.

On the Democratic side, 22 delegates will be distributed based on the vote in each of the four congressional districts, 13 delegates will be distirbuted based on the statewide vote and the remaining 12 are unpledged.
Gov. Mike Beebe (D) endorsed Clinton, along with three of the state's four members of Congress. Rep. John Boozman (R) endorsed Huckabee.

By Washington Post Editor  |  February 5, 2008; 11:28 AM ET
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