Tennessee Sen. Albert Gore Jr., 39, may not be the only Baby-Boom southerner in the race for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, 40, says he's close to announcing whether he will join the campaign.

After months of dodging "are you running" questions, Clinton said he has "just about made a decision." At a news conference in Arkansas last week, he said, "I'm very close, but I have not decided when to announce it, except to do it very soon." Clinton also said the people of Arkansas will hear the news first, adding, "I will not announce through a leak in Washington."

Several Clinton aides and associates said that they expect him to run and that the decision could come this week. Recently, Clinton told supporters he has commitments for $1.2 million in contributions. He acknowledged that his fund-raising prospects have been hurt by his delay, and he said he was rechecking with potential backers.

Clinton has traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire this year and has made appearances at events attended by many of the Democratic candidates, including the Democratic Leadership Council meeting in Atlanta last month and the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Nashville.

Kip Blakely, executive director of the Arkansas Democratic Party, said, "I would say that he has been running for the office for many weeks, many months . . . . It's a matter of whether or not he announces. He is obviously doing the things that presidential candidates do."