At least this closer-than-expected call was to a living, breathing person. Hours after President Barack Obama lost 40 per cent of the vote in Kentucky to “Uncommitted,” Democratic challenger and human being John Wolfe gave him another contest in Arkansas, in what has become a recurring theme the past two weeks in Appalachia.
The Associated Press called Arkansas for Obama around 11:20 p.m. ET on Tuesday, nearly three hours after the polls closed there.
As of 12:40 a.m. ET on Wednesday, it looked like Wolfe, a perennial candidate and attorney from Tennessee, would get more than 40 per cent of the vote. He stood at 41 per cent with 89 per cent of precincts reporting.
This adds to a string of recent setbacks in southern and Appalachian states for Obama. The first embarrassment came two weeks ago in West Virginia, when 41 per cent of Democrats there voted for felon Keith Judd, who is currently in jail.
With almost 100 per cent reporting in Kentucky by 12:30 p.m. ET, it was clear that Obama had suffered the most humiliating close call to “Uncommitted”—that choice garnered more than 42 per cent of the vote.
A couple things to note here: These results are largely symbolic, if anything. Though they will give Republicans plenty of fodder for the campaign season—especially, say, in three Kentucky counties bordering Ohio that Obama actually lost to “Uncommitted.” That said, Obama isn’t going to win Kentucky, Arkansas or West Virginia in November.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that in Kentucky, Obama actually compiled more votes than Republican winner—and general election challenger—Mitt Romney. Both contests are now symbolic, of course, but Republicans still have more of a reason to go out and vote in their primary. Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Republicans’ version of “Uncommitted” combined for about 33 per cent in Kentucky.
In Arkansas, Obama did not get more votes than Romney. Romney received just less than 70 per cent of the vote there.
Watch this video to see what Obama’s poor primary performance means for the general election:
Produced by Daniel Goodman