Barack Obama had no national primary challengers in his second nomination race in most states, including Kentucky. Who knew it would still be a tough choice for voters? Kentucky voters in the Democratic primary preferred the empty slot to the empty suit, apparently:
About two out of every five Democratic voters in Tuesday’s presidential primary in Kentucky chose “uncommitted” instead of voting for President Barack Obama. …
“I’m at a victory celebration for ‘uncommitted’ who performed admirably,” said [state GOP chair Steve] Robertson. “I’ve never met the guy but know that he highly embarrassed Obama.”
Robertson contended that the Democrats who vote most regularly — those he termed “the Democrats of Democrats” — “said ‘no’ to their president. If the Kentucky Democratic Party doesn’t get it after this race, they need to stare long and hard at the results. This shows that Obama has even more than an uphill battle to win Kentucky in the fall.”
That’s not the worst of it. Obama may end up losing as many as half of Kentucky’s counties to “Uncommitted” as well:
Kentucky’s vote was notable, though, for the fact that there weren’t even any other candidates on the ballot. The most the “uncommitted” option won so far this primary season was previously 21 percent in the North Carolina primary earlier this month. Kentucky looks as though it will double that number.
In addition, Obama looked as though he may lose more than half of the state’s 120 counties.
This follows on the heels of Obama’s embarrassing outcome in West Virginia, where he lost 41% of the vote to a felon currently residing in federal prison in Texas. Both states are big coal producers, and voters in both parties have become disgusted with Obama’s attacks on the industry that keeps their economy running, and which keeps the lights on for the rest of the country. Neither state was expected to support Obama in November, but this level of anger among rank-and-file Democrats has to have Team Obama worried about their prospects in coal-heavy Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are much more critical to their hopes for re-election.
On top of the embarrassing results in Kentucky, Obama also lost 40% of the Democratic vote in Bill Clinton’s home state yesterday, too. So far, challenger John Wolfe has 41% of the vote with 67 of 75 Arkansas counties reporting. Wolfe appears to be carrying almost half of the counties in Arkansas as well, just as “Uncommitted” did in Kentucky.
In 1968, a weak win in New Hampshire against a tough primary challenge was enough to convince LBJ that he couldn’t win a general election. I don’t expect Obama to retire, but barely winning states against no competition sends a very similar signal in 2012.