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Uncommitted' Steals Over 40% of Vote from Obama in Kentucky Primary


"Consider the message received, Kentucky."

Obama might want to pay attention.

Some presidential primary voters in Kentucky and Arkansas are taking a swipe at President Barack Obama, denying the incumbent nearly 4 out of every 10 votes cast on the Democratic side.

In Kentucky's closed primary, about 42 percent of registered Democrats who voted selected "uncommitted." New York Mag, which tries to sell the Obama win as "commanding," explains:

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama managed a commanding 57.9 percent of the vote, losing 41.2 percent to the ballot option known as Uncommitted, or Merle Uncommitted, or John Q. Uncommitted, or Paul Uncommitted, depending on your taste. Consider the message received, Kentucky.

In Arkansas' open primary, voters could select a ballot for either party. Early returns showed a Tennessee attorney, John Wolfe, drawing about 40 percent on the Democratic side.

So who is Wolfe? He's pretty left-wing, and last visited the state in March. Talking Points Memo has more:

The would-be spoiler in Arkansas is Tennessee lawyer John Wolfe, a perennial candidate who was also on the ballot in New Hampshire and Louisiana, the latter of which gave him 12 percent of the vote. Buzz has been building that Wolfe could take a larger share of the vote in Arkansas — based largely on a Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll from May 10 that showed Obama leading 45 percent to 38 percent in Arkansas’s largely rural 4th Congressional District.

Unlike, Judd, who is in prison, Wolfe is campaigning, even though the state Democratic Party has already said it will not award him any delegates to the national convention no matter how many votes he gets. Wolfe hasn’t had the money for TV or radio ads, but he has been calling people in Arkansas and says he bought some newspaper inserts, according to an interview Wolfe gave to Wikinews. According to a National Review story, the last time he visited Arkansas was in March.

The conservative media has gotten a kick out of Wolfe’s candidacy and its potential to embarrass Obama, but Wolfe’s positions are even further to the left of the president. On his campaign website, he argues that Obama has been “dominated” by “the Pentagon, Wall Street, and corporations.” He calls for reform, “not war and austerity.” Wolfe called the stimulus a “good start” that ultimately “wasn’t enough” in the Wikinews interview. Wolfe has one pledged delegate so far in Arkansas, 78-year-old Bill Conway, who says he supports Wolfe because of his strong stance against Wall Street.

The results in either state will not hamper Obama's effort to gain the party's nomination for a second term. Still, it's a bit embarrassing for the Democratic Party and highlights Obama's political weakness in Southern states.

Two weeks ago, a federal inmate in Texas -- Keith Judd -- earned 41 percent of the vote in West Virginia's Democratic primary. That win exposed a possible weakness in the president's ability to connect with some Southern voters.

“Arkansas voters are informed voters and are fully aware that John Wolfe will not make it out of the primary,” one "well-connected" Arkansas Democrat told the Washington Post. “However, if John Wolfe has a strong showing tomorrow, it’s a sign that Democratic voters in Arkansas are frustrated with the administration’s policies and further reiteration that Southern Democrats simply cannot identify with President Obama.”

Consider them frustrated.

The Associated Press contribute to this report.

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