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AR: Clinton and Huckabee Ties Go Deep

By Rob Stein
The race in Arkansas features a popular former governor, Mike Huckabee, and the wife of a former governor, Hillary Clinton, who both are seeking to capitalize on their deep ties to the state.

But neither appears to be taking the state for granted. Huckabee staged a quick airport rally on Friday and former president Bill Clinton made appearances at the University of Arkansas and a Texarkana high school on behalf of his wife the same day. Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea both visited the state earlier in the week.

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 are all already 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 distributed based on the state wide vote and the remaining 12 are unpledged.

About 22 percent of registered voters turned out for the last primary. State officials were predicting a high turn out, but did not offer a specific estimate because this is the first time the primary is being held this early separate from other elections.

"We do expect it to be high because that has been the case in all the other primaries statewide," said Derinda Sharp, a spokesperson for the secretary of state.

More than 24,000 voters had already filed early ballots by late last week, with Democratic voters outnumbering Republicans by about two to one, she said.

Gov. Mike Beebe (D) endorsed Clinton, along with three out of the state's four members of Congress. Rep. John Boozman (R) endorsed Huckabee.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 4, 2008; 10:20 PM ET
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