October 24th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
6 years ago

On the Trail: Republican drives 600 miles to vote for Obama

Aaron Wheeler said he's voting Democrat for the first time ever.
Aaron Wheeler said he's voting Democrat for the first time ever.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) - Sometimes you stumble on stories. Thursday was one of those times.

We were outside Veterans’ Memorial in Columbus reporting on early voting. I approached a man with an “ I just voted” sticker on his lapel to ask him whether he’d encountered any lines. The “lines weren’t bad” he said, with a broad smile. Lines were the last thing on Aaron Wheeler’s mind as he explained why he drove 600 miles back to his old hometown from Virginia, where he moved this month, to vote in what he called “one of the proudest days” of his life.

“My family has been Republican for three generations,” he said, but “I knew I had to change and vote Democrat in the first time almost ever.”

Wheeler said he was one of about 16 black Republican delegates at the 2004 GOP convention, and was proud to support George W. Bush.

This time, he said, he did not attend the Republican convention –and decided he would go one step further and vote for Democrat Barack Obama.

What’s influencing his vote? The economy was one factor, he said. But said he he made his decision “when I saw Barack Obama beaten down for no reason by negative things by Palin.”

Wheeler reminisced about marching with Martin Luther King as a boy, and referred to the slain civil rights leader when he told me he voted for Barack Obama… “not just because of his color….but in the words of Dr. King, the content of his character.”

“Tears come out of my eyes as I cast my ballot,” he said. “I voted for Barack Obama today.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. james in s.c.

    RIGHT ON!!! I'M 41 FIRST TIME VOTING EVER !! IT WAS EXCITING AND VOTED FOR OBAMA-BIDEN TICKET.
    oh by the way i'm white redneck living bible thumping state of south carolina!!

    GO OBAMA- BIDEN 08 & 12

    October 24, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Sweet Daddy

    No disrespect but how soon we forget John McCain was a POW for five (5) years.....now what WAR did he win?

    Go Bama

    October 24, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. MaryJane

    I already voted for Obama! My step-daughter step-son will be voting for the first time in their lives tomorrow for Obama as well!!

    October 24, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Scott Tucson

    Wait a minute! this guy drove 600 miles from Virginia to vote in Ohio?
    And his new residence is in Virginia, I guess he will also cast a vote in VA too. Sounds like a typical democratic voter.

    October 24, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Michael Fisher

    beautiful story....and it makes sense

    i cant wait to cast my vote for obama tomorrow

    it is a vote for a brighter greener future
    a vote against the bush dynasty
    a vote against the racist liar ashley todd
    a vote against the know nothign sarah palin
    a vote against meaningless wars

    a vote for a real american with holes in his shoes and jackets less than 5,000$

    October 24, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. MaryJane

    My step-son (21 yr old) flew in to Texas from Oklahoma to vote for the first time. Obama is worth it he says!!

    October 24, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Dennis

    If Obama is tested like John Kennedy ... then, I'm not so worried. I remember those days and was proud of the way Kennedy dealt with the problems!

    By the way, whoever is elected will be tested!!!! Not because of so called "inexperience," but due to our obvious financial weakness and moral weakness as a nation now! You can bet we'll be tested as a nation no matter who is elected ... McCain or Obama ...

    October 24, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. SHELLI1313

    Smart move Mr. Wheeler. The Republicans, McCain, Palin and others are really going as low or even lower than a snake in this electorial year. With the Economy like it is the only thing that they can do is bash the Senator (Obama). I think that, that is a STUPID MOVE!

    October 24, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th

    NOW THIS IS WHAT AMERICA'S ALL ABOUT, YOU MAKE ME PROUD SIR, BLESS YOU. VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN

    October 24, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  10. sabrina01

    go Obama uniting the country

    October 24, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. Mr Independent

    I'm sick of you Republicans always trying to put fear into peoples hearts because they decided to vote for Obama. If fear is the only thing you have to use as a tool to have someone vote for your candidate then you truly have no leg to stand on. You guys are hopeless....

    October 24, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. Red

    POW Eligible for PTSD; McCain can not and will refuse to talk to enemies. He will get us all killed. Mentally he is not fit to be a leader of no kind.

    October 24, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Remy

    Waiting for voting for long hours is not democratic anyway! What is the problem in American voting process? Ill trained or any push to stop voters?

    Anyway congrats Mr. Wheeler

    October 24, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. Cogs

    Awesome! I early voted for Obama in Ohio! Now is the time for us to come together as Americans to support what is best for our country: Obama/Biden 08!!!

    October 24, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. I didn't drink the Kool Aid

    And this guy didn't vote in the state his lives in because? Is it because Ohio needs all the votes they can get for Nobama?

    Nobama and the Chicago way...vote early, vote often!

    October 24, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. Ravi

    Mr. Wheeler, you rock! And yes, we WILL make history with Barack on November 4th.

    October 24, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  17. Sarah....and my last name isn't Palin

    WOW

    October 24, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  18. Undecide voter

    The bottom line is any 'change' will be better than 'more of the same'.

    October 24, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. nelda

    Its amazing how Obama has inspired and will continue to inspire Americans.

    Go Obama!

    October 24, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. Toni

    Im glad someone was turned off by those negative things Palin has said

    And has paid attention to the fact that she is dumb as a box of rocks

    October 24, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. JR in PA

    Jimmy and others who mention McCain's "readiness" to lead: What has he done, other than crash seven planes thirty-plus years ago, get captured, cheat on his handicapped first wife and take money from Keating during the biggest banking scandal of the 80s?

    October 24, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  22. Obamican

    Add me to that growing list of republicans voting for Obama.

    Vote Obama-Biden!!

    October 24, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. Why the Lovefest?

    Curious. Does the love fest continue if he votes McCain instead of Obama? Are we inspired by his decision to drive 600 miles so that he can vote in this historic election; or just happy he drove to vote for Obama?

    October 24, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  24. fella from chicago

    Sheep! Obama is nothing more than the Devil in disguise.

    October 24, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  25. idyl

    Aaron you're inspiring. I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes too...a beautiful story-thanks.

    October 24, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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