U Of A Professor Explains Why GOP Presidential Candidates Are Flocking To NWA

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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- Three GOP presidential candidates will be campaigning in Northwest Arkansas Saturday and Sunday ahead of the March 1 primary.

Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will be in the area on Saturday (Feb. 27) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will visit on Sunday (Feb. 28).

According to University of Arkansas Associate Professor of Political Science Pearl Dowe, the three front runners are flocking to Northwest Arkansas because of its demographic. Benton County tends to lean more conservative, but there are moderate Republicans living across the region and that's who Trump, Rubio and Cruz are after, Dowe said.

"It kind of places the state in a much more important place typically as the party is changing," she said. "The demographics, as far as who the candidates need to be going after, it makes it more important."

Dowe said the string of visits was triggered by Trump. The businessman is currently the front runner in the GOP candidate race and was the first to announce a stop in Northwest Arkansas, so Rubio and Cruz followed suit hoping to use their presence to generate votes, she said.

"It's important for the area," Dowe said. "Because this area gains a lot of attention as a result of Walmart, the university, but it also adds now to our political impact, to the state and in the region."

Forty Republican delegates are stake in Arkansas, so a strong second or third finish matters, according to Dowe.

The Natural State is also getting in the spotlight more than usual because of its earlier-than-usual primary. Arkansas is now one of 12 states voting during Super Tuesday instead of voting during the first Tuesday in May like years past.

For information on Trump's visit, click here.

For information on Rubio's visit, click here.

For information on Cruz's visit, click here.

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