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Sun, Aug. 18

Western governors eye early presidential primary in 2008

Miner Photo/TERRY ORGAN

Alisa Dupree is reading up on multiple births in preparation for the arrival of identical triplets in October.

She picked up a copy of "Having Twins and More: A Parent's Guide to Multiple Pregnancy, Birth and Early Childhood" during a trip to Prescott.

But neither family has witnessed a birth involving more than two babies.

That will change in October when the couple expects identical triplets.

Alisa, 32, said she was stunned when she got the news from her gynecologist.

"I found out at nine weeks I was carrying triplets," she said.

"Several ultrasound tests have been done confirming the babies are all boys and identical.

"I actually thought I was having a miscarriage, which is why I went to the hospital.

It's a good thing we both were sitting down when they told us."

Dupree, who has a 12-year-old daughter, said she began having contractions three minutes apart at the end of her fourth month of pregnancy.

She said she will be on complete bed rest at a Flagstaff hospital as of Sunday as she tries to carry the babies to 34 weeks, when they will have a good chance of surviving.

Her projected delivery date is Oct.

26.

Karla Yarbrough, Dupree's mother-in-law, said the odds of identical triplets when the conceiving couple has not used fertility drugs is "unreal."

Dr.

Anthony Lemanski is Dupree's obstetrician/gynecologist in Kingman.

She will be under the care of Dr.

James Thomas while hospitalized in Flagstaff for the next three to four months.

Lemanski said most obstetricians might see one set of triplets during their careers.

He has seen two other sets that were naturally conceived.

"The odds (of identical triplets) are astronomical," Lemanski said.

"The only reason we see them today is due to in-vitro fertilization, and even then endocrinologists try to keep it down to twins."

Carrying identical triplets poses a greater risk to the babies than non-identical triplets.

"They're more likely to have twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome," Lemanski said.

"That means one of the fetuses is more likely to steal some of the blood supply from another, something that does not happen with fraternal twins or triplets."

Dupree said she has been unable to find much literature in Kingman about triplets, so she went to a bookstore in Prescott to read up on multiple births.

Her three babies are in separate birth sacks and share a placenta, she said.

Dupree is on maternity leave from her position as a loan officer with Citifinancial Corp.

She said doctors have told her to be prepared to go through 30 diapers and 30 bottles of milk or formula daily once the triplets arrive, meaning 900 of each per month.

Dupree and Yarbrough haven't yet picked out names for the three boys.

"I'm just hoping they don't assign me to the psychiatric ward instead of the maternity ward," she joked.SANTA FE, N.M.

– Governors of Western states, who want their fast-growing region to exert more influence in picking presidential nominees, will explore a possible regional primary in 2008.

Governors at a meeting of the Western Governors' Association said Monday they will try to find a common date for a potential Western primary or caucus early in the presidential nominating season.

"It's critically important that the entire West be a battleground region, not individual states," Gov.

Bill Richardson, a Democrat and president of the WGA, said after governors endorsed a resolution to establish a working group to develop a regional primary proposal.

Colorado Gov.

Bill Owens, a Republican who is the incoming president of the association, said states would need to act within the next two years to approve any changes in their laws if a Western primary or caucus is to be implemented for the 2008 presidential election.

"It's so clearly in our best interests that hopefully we can overcome the challenges of getting it passed by a number of state legislatures," Owens said.

A Western presidential primary isn't a new idea.

Former Utah Gov.

Mike Leavitt tried to organize a Western primary of eight to 10 states in 2000, but there wasn't enough interest.

Utah and Colorado held primaries on March 10, 2000, and Wyoming held party caucuses.

Utah Gov.

Olene Walker, a Republican, said she's optimistic there will be broader support for a Western primary in 2008.

One of the difficulties, the governors agreed, will be coming up with a common date for a Western presidential contest and scheduling it early enough for the region to flex some political muscle.

Traditionally, the presidential primary and caucus season begins in Iowa in January for both parties, is followed by the New Hampshire primary and then continues into June even though the party nominations are locked up early in the process.

In a presentation to the governors, Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, recommended Iowa and New Hampshire be replaced as the initial contests on the presidential campaign calendar.

He said those states were not representative of the demographics or interests of the nation.

"Why shouldn't the fastest growing, dynamic, ethnically diverse states of the West have a much greater voice in the election of a president than the lilly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire," Sabato told reporters after speaking to the WGA.

Richardson and other governors said a Western primary or caucus would force candidates to address the region's interests and problems.

"The issues of the West – agriculture, water, energy, drought, immigration, environment – will take center stage and that's the way it should be," said Richardson.

"The West is the most rapidly growing region in the country.

It's becoming the most diverse and for that reason we need to have a say in presidential politics dramatically more than we have in the past."

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