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AR: Record Early Voting

By Rob Stein
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and his wife cast their ballots in Little Rock this afternoon as he and Hillary Clinton, the state's former first lady, hope to capitalize on their deep roots in the state.

State election officials were keeping a close eye on the weather.

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

But officials were reporting no problems and a big turnout. 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.

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 statewide vote, and the remaining 12 are unpledged.

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

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 5, 2008; 4:37 PM ET
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