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Arkansas: Battle for the Statehouse

Incumbent: Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe

Republican: Former state Senator Jim Keet

2008 Presidential Result: Obama 39%; McCain 59%

55+ Population (2009 estimate): 26%

Overview: Pre-election polls give Mike Beebe a substantial lead, but two things are working against him: John McCain carried the state by 20 points two years ago, and the state's economy is pretty bad. While Beebe has hailed Arkansas' rise to 44th among states based on per capita income, Jim Keet says that's not so great, and the state could do better. Keet is also saying the state's business climate is not living up to the scene painted by Beebe during his time in office.

50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.

Fun Fact: Arkansas and Mississippi have traded places for decades as the poorest states in the union. With Arkansas moving up a few places, Beebe jokes that Arkansas no longer has to say, "Thank God for Mississippi."

'Wild Card' Issue: A rap video. Could it bring out the younger voters for Keet? Rapper Courtney Ray, or "X2C," as he is known, has made a rap video supporting Keet. The Keet campaign says it knows nothing about the video's origins, and hasn't paid anyone for it. As raps go, it's not so bad, though it does rhyme "Keet" with "Urban League."

Introduction: Governors' Races Hold High Stakes for the Future

POLITICS_govt elections

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