LITTLE ROCK — Early-voting numbers suggest Tuesday’s primary and nonpartisan judicial election will surpass recent primary elections in turnout, according to the secretary of state’s office.

LITTLE ROCK — Early-voting numbers suggest Tuesday’s primary and nonpartisan judicial election will surpass recent primary elections in turnout, according to the secretary of state’s office.


By 4 p.m. Friday, with two days of early voting remaining, 141,046 Arkansans had cast ballots since early voting began Feb. 15. Chris Powell, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said about 100,000 ballots were cast in early voting for the 2012 and 2014 primaries.


Powell said several factors may be helping to boost turnout, including an open presidential race, the earlier date of this year’s primary and multiple visits to the state by presidential candidates.


"I think people are just motivated," he said.


Last year the state Legislature voted to move the primary election from late May to March 1 for the 2016 election cycle. The move was intended to allow Arkansas to participate in Super Tuesday, when a number of states, including several in the south, will hold simultaneous primaries and caucuses.


Supporters of the change predicted at the time that it would make Arkansas more of a player in the presidential race and boost voter turnout.


Thirteen presidential candidates are on Arkansas’ Republican ballot, though several have dropped out of the race since qualifying. The 13 are Lindsey Graham, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.


Voters who choose the Democratic ballot will see six presidential candidates’ names: Hillary Clinton, James Valentine, Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and John Wolfe.


Rubio has secured endorsements from many of the state’s top Republican officials, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson; Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin; state Auditor Andrea Lea; U.S. Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro; and at least 28 state legislators, including Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, Majority Leader Jim Hendren, R-Gravette, and House Majority Leader Ken Bragg, R-Sheridan.


Cruz has been endorsed by Secretary of State Mark Martin and at least 18 state legislators, among them Sens. Terry Rice, R-Waldron, Garry Stubblefield, R-Branch, Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, and Scott Flippo, R-Bull Shoals; and state Reps. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, Kim Hammer, R-Benton, Bruce Cozart, R-Hot Springs, and Robin Lundstrum, R-Springdale.


Clinton has picked up endorsements from former Govs. Mike Beebe and Jim Guy Tucker, former Gov. and U.S. Sen. David Pryor, former U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, former U.S. Reps. Marion Berry and Mike Ross, and at least 16 state legislators, including Senate Minority Leader Keith Ingram, D-West Memphis, and House Minority Leader Michael John Gray, D- Augusta.


In a talk Friday to the National Conference of Insurance Legislators in Little Rock, Hutchinson noted that Trump, Rubio, Cruz and Clinton would be campaigning in Arkansas in the days leading up to the state’s primary.


"If that doesn’t cover the waterfront, than you probably are supporting a candidate that’s not going to win here in Arkansas," he said.


Talking later to reporters, Hutchinson declined to predict the results of the state’s GOP presidential primary.


"I think it’ll be close," he said.


Also on the ballot Tuesday will be a Republican U.S. Senate primary race between incumbent Sen. John Boozman and challenger Curtis Coleman. The winner will face Democrat Conner Eldridge and Libertarian Frank Gilbert in the November general election.


Voters in Arkansas’ 2nd congressional district will decide a Republican primary race between incumbent Rep. French Hill and challenger Brock Olree. The winner will face Democrat Dianne Curry and Libertarian Chris Hayes in November.


Judicial races include two contests for the Arkansas Supreme Court.


Sitting Justice Courtney Goodson and Circuit Judge Dan Kemp are seeking the position of Supreme Court chief justice. Current Chief Justice Howard Brill, who was appointed by the governor to replace the late Jack Hannah, cannot seek re-election.


Seeking to replace retiring Justice Paul Danielson in Position 5 on the Supreme Court are lawyer Clark Mason and Circuit Judge Shawn Womack.


Voters in various districts will cast ballots in three state Senate primaries, 19 state House primaries and four Arkansas Court of Appeals races.


The general primary runoff election will be March 22.


The secretary of state’s office will begin posting elections results to its website about 8 p.m. Tuesday, Powell said.