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In Arkansas, a last stand by embattled Democrats

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When top Arkansas Democrats talk about their priorities in the 2012 election, they hardly mention the battle for the White House or the state's four congressional seats.

Instead, they're focused on whether the state Legislature falls to Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction.

It's a last stand for Democrats, who fear that the GOP is poised to end a party tradition that began as the former Confederate state was still emerging from the aftermath of the Civil War.

Arkansas is the only part of the old Confederacy where Democrats control the state Legislature and the governor's mansion. That's a point of pride for a party that hasn't been able to win the state's electoral votes since native son Bill Clinton was on the ticket.