A couple weeks ago, we told you about President Obama’s problems convincing West Virginia Democrats to vote for him over federal inmate Keith Judd. Last night the states of Kentucky and Arkansas held Presidential primaries for both parties, and Pres. Obama faced similarly formidable competition. While Governor Romney was winning more than 2/3rds of the GOP vote with Paul, Santorum, and Gingrich’s names still on the ballot as options, over 40% of Democrats in both states rejected President Obama.
Obama was the only human being on the Democratic primary ballot in Kentucky. His only opponent was the ‘uncommitted’ line found on both party’s ballots in the state. Faced with a fierce challenge from this inanimate word, Obama mustered only 57.9 percent of his party’s vote. Uncommitted won more counties than the President, and the state was almost dead even outside of the city of Louisville. As recently as 1996, the Bluegrass State was blue in support of President Clinton’s re-election bid.
Arkansas featured an actual human being standing in for the uncommitted juggernaut, a man named John Wolfe, Jr.. Mr. Wolfe has been a perennial candidate for office in his home state of Tennessee, running six times over the last 15 years to be a member Congress, Mayor of Chattanooga, and a State Senator. He was unsuccessful on each occasion. He is currently prohibited from running for state or local office in Tennessee due to an unpaid campaign fine for failing to file a campaign finance report from 2007. Needless to say, Mr. Wolfe isn’t exactly Ted Kennedy challenging President Carter.
Despite this, Wolfe won 41.6 percent of Arkansas Democrats’ votes. Wolfe claimed nearly half the state’s counties, including Craighead County in the northeastern corner of the state. Craighead is home to the Arkansas’ 5th largest city of Jonesboro, which is a college town home to Arkansas State University (part of the young voter block that’s supposed to be a strength of the President’s).
When Pat Buchanan won 37% of the NH vote against President George H.W. Bush, the media wasted no time declaring it to be a massive upset for the incumbent and a clear sign of a divided party. Obama has lost over 40% of his party’s vote in 3 consecutive states, yet the gloom and doom predictions seen in the past are largely absent.
While it is true that Kentucky and Arkansas are states all but assured to be in the Republican column in November, the huge segment of Democrats in these states who will not support the President’s re-election is a serious red flag for team Obama. The rural, blue collar Democrats who rejected him in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Arkansas are found in SE Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, states critical to deciding the election. Just as the Reagan Democrats who abandoned Jimmy Carter turned the election of 1980 into a landslide, these voters disenchanted with Obama’s far left agenda could soon be known as the Romney Democrats of 2012.