Looks like Tuesday was a bad day for Barack Obama, Democrats in general, and particularly the unions. Three states held primaries, and in each, voters rejected positions and/or candidates associated with all three, in embarrassing vote totals. Let’s start with the least significant of these outcomes, the Democratic presidential primary in West Virginia, where an inmate in federal prison ran a novelty primary challenge to Barack Obama — and came within 20 points of winning (via Polipundit):
An obscure federal prison inmate gave President Obama an unexpected run for his money in the West Virginia Democratic Primary Tuesday, highlighting the deep dislike for the president in the Appalachian heartland.
With 96% of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Keith Judd was holding steady at 41% of the vote and had won ten counties.
Judd is also known as federal prison inmate Number 11593-051 at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas, where Judd is serving a 210-month sentence for extortion and making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999.
The best part of this story? Thanks to the size of the popular vote for Judd, he’s entitled to at least one delegate at the Democratic National Convention. I’d bet that the DNC will rule that Judd’s ineligibility as a convict will allow them to strip him of whatever delegates he does win, but it’s going to be a little embarrassing nonetheless.
Still, Obama has absolutely no chance of winning West Virginia in a national election anyway, so that’s more sideshow than significant. However, Team Obama needs to carry North Carolina again this year after their narrow 0.3% win in 2008. Obama ran unopposed in the primary in North Carolina, but that doesn’t mean he won all of the votes. In fact, Obama couldn’t reach 80% in the Democratic primary, which featured competitive Congressional primary contests on the ballot. Obama won only 79.2% of the vote, with slightly more than a fifth of all Democratic voters (20.8%) expressing “no preference.” That totals over 140,000 Democrat votes that didn’t go to Obama in an unopposed primary — and Obama only won North Carolina by 14,000 votes in 2008. The Tarheel State’s beginning to look like a lost cause.
Speaking of lost causes, the traditional marriage amendment that Obama publicly opposed in North Carolina passed by a wide margin:
North Carolina has become the 31st state to add an amendment on marriage to its constitution, with voters banning same-sex marriage and barring legal recognition of unmarried couples by state and local governments.
North Carolina is the last state in the south to add such an amendment, and supporters hoped for a resounding victory.
Incomplete returns show the amendment up 59.72 percent to 40.28 percent. Some large counties, including Durham and Mecklenburg have not reported results.
The final results were even more dramatic, 61.05% to 38.95%. That represents a strong rejection of Obama’s position, and a demonstration of why the Tarheel State may already be lost to Obama.
By far the worst news for the Left came in Wisconsin, where primaries were held for the recall elections next month. Tom Barrett won a contentious fight against Kathleen Falk, the candidate of Big Labor who got a ton of union help for her campaign but lost badly by 24 points, 58/34. The real story, though, was Scott Walker, who got more votes than both combined despite facing only token opposition in the Republican primary:
As Barrett was campaigning Tuesday, Walker was barnstorming the state and showing the fight he will bring to what is expected to be a brutal month of canvassing for one of the most important elections to state office in Wisconsin history. A poll last week showed Walker and Barrett in a dead heat.
Walker, who won over 600,000 votes despite facing only token opposition Tuesday, has been preparing for months for the fast-approaching election, raising a record $25 million, while Barrett must now pivot toward this race with far fewer resources.
There was little reason for Republicans to turn out for this primary, as their incumbents are all trying to hold their offices. Walker’s opponent got less than 20,000 votes, while Walker rang up over 626,000. Contrast that the two Democrats, who combined for 619,049 votes, seven thousand less than Walker, in a primary election where unions tried to stoke turnout to boost Falk. Republicans in Wisconsin appear fired up and ready to turn out in June, and presumably in November, to protect their state against Big Labor’s efforts to undo the 2010 elections and take control of the state. That’s not good news for Obama, either, since Obama won Wisconsin in 2008 and needs the state in 2012.
All of that makes for a very bad night indeed for Democrats, and a pretty good indicator which way the wind is blowing before the general election.