CONWAY — Former President Bill Clinton kicked off a series of rallies for Democratic candidates in Arkansas on Monday with a plea to young voters.

CONWAY — Former President Bill Clinton kicked off a series of rallies for Democratic candidates in Arkansas on Monday with a plea to young voters.


Clinton spoke Monday afternoon at rally on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway before heading to Jonesboro for a rally at Arkansas State University. On Tuesday he is scheduled to headline rallies at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.


"We’re here and we’re going to other campuses because historically in non-presidential years there is a big drop-off in the youth vote," the former Arkansas governor said in a 20-minute speech at UCA. "The opponents of these candidates are betting there will be this year, and I’m betting there won’t be — and it’s up to you."


Clinton urged people in the audience who were not registered to vote to see volunteers at the rally who were taking voter-registration applications. Monday was the final day to register before the Nov. 4 election.


Standing with Clinton were U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross, 2nd District congressional candidate Patrick Hays and Gov. Mike Beebe, who is prohibited by term limits from seeking a third term. Several other Democratic candidates appeared at the UCA rally ahead of Clinton.


Clinton said opponents of Pryor, Ross and Hays want the election to be about President Barack Obama.


"You cannot afford to do what their opponents want," Clinton said. "They want you to make this a protest vote. All three of these races, they’re saying, ‘You may like these guys, but hey, you know what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to vote against the president.’"


Pryor, Ross and Hays are vying with GOP opponents U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, Asa Hutchinson and French Hill, respectively.


Clinton said it would make no sense to protest a president who will be out of office in two years by electing Republicans to office — for a term of four years for the winner of the governor’s race and six years for the winner of the Senate race.


He said Pryor, Ross and Hayes have records of being able to work with anyone to solve problems and cut through gridlock, as does Beebe, whom he called the most popular governor in America. He urged voters to disregard outside groups pouring money into the state to oppose Democrats.


"Everybody’s trying to hijack our politics," he said. "You have to own it here, because only your lives will be affected. After this election, they’ll go off and worry about something else and you’ll be stuck with the people who get elected."


The Republican National Committee said in a statement Monday that Pryor was trying to confuse voters by appearing with Clinton and not with Obama.


"Senator Pryor has loyally backed President Obama 93 percent of the time, not President Clinton," RNC spokesman Fred Brown said in the statement.


Pryor has said estimates that he voted with Obama 90 percent of the time or more are false.


Another former Arkansas governor, Republican Mike Huckabee, is scheduled to headline a rally for Cotton in Fort Smith on Thursday. Huckabee previously appeared with Cotton in Little Rock in August.


Several other nationally known Republicans have stumped for Arkansas candidates in recent weeks, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former presidential nominee Mitt Romney.