Costs for Arkansas' Early Primary Doubles Since '05 Estimate

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The cost to move up Arkansas' 2008 presidential primary has more than doubled since lawmakers passed a law advancing their election, and now some officials are wondering whether the added cost was worth it.

Two years ago, the Legislature passed law authorizing a primary of February 5, and state officials estimated such a move would cost $1 million.  Now, officials say the cost is actually $2.2 million.

But the bill's backer, Senator Tracy Steele of North Little Rock, says an early primary should be an economic boon for Arkansas.

But others, like Governor Mike Beebe question whether the benefits of an early primary justify the added costs.

Now, 14 states, including Arkansas, have presidential primaries or caucuses scheduled for February 5, and seven more are considering that date.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)