October 24th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
10 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. Canadian

    A very beautiful story for a change . Everyone for Obama , the Republicans are counting on you having apathy or being to overly confident to go out and vote . Don't give The Republicans the satisfaction of your complacency ! Change is'nt scary, it's growth to be embraced with glee ! May God Bless Aaron Wheeler and everyone else who votes for Obama !

    October 24, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  2. Another grumpy old white woman for Obama

    Nice break from the usual hate mongering on these blogs.
    I am 69 and figure I have 15 more years If I am lucky.
    I am voting for Obama (obviously) and said when he ran for the senate that he would be a great President. I have not waivered in that belief. I do not expect miracles. It has taken 8 years to get us in this mess and may take that many to get us out. But hopefully I will live to see it happen.
    God bless you Aaron.
    And all of us who refuse to live in fear, paranoia and hatred.

    October 24, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  3. Jon S.

    God bless you, Mr. Wheeler! I'm inspired by you.

    October 24, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  4. David

    I'm sure race had nothing to do with it.

    October 24, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  5. knickel

    Unbelievable! Another ineligible elector commits voter fraud by voting in a precinct he no longer resides in – by his own admission, and people line up to congratulate him. Aaron is a felon.

    This is why not everyone should vote. If you can't even follow the basic laws regarding eligibility, stay home and do us all a favor. If a McCain voter drove 600 miles back to Ohio to vote illegally Jennifer Brunner would personally bring the police to arrest him on camera.

    October 24, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. terri

    i voted for obama on monday. he will be a great leader for the united states of america. i hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes. we need to be united.

    i am white

    October 24, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. BJ

    Yeah right... like Obama is soooo clean and pure. Give me a break, Obama is the epitome of a slick politician. He is taking advantage of people's weaknesses, and promises everything just to get their votes.

    October 24, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  8. Hellen

    Hello all you Obama fans.in the U S A, just know we in Canada are all pulling for Obama/BIden . i would vote if i could .good man.

    October 24, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  9. JImmy in California

    I felt the same excited as I voted for Senator Obama. I remember one of our high school teachers in 1966 telling a group of graduating seniors that as young Blacks, with all the changes that have taken place in our country, we could go out and be ALMOST anything we want to be now.

    These were hard civil rights times for us but I never forgot the "ALMOST" word she used.

    October 24, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. BK

    I hate it when people point out that most blacks are voting for Obama. Most blacks are voting for him because he is Democrat, not because he is black, just like every election in living memory. Its nothing new.

    October 24, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  11. Bill

    You are a brave American, standing by your support for Bush and your decision to support Obama this time around. Good for you

    October 24, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  12. Pat

    I voted my absentee ballot for Obama in Michigan.
    Great Day!! I am a white senior woman and think we can finally have a President who offers hope for Michigan and the rest of the world.

    October 24, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  13. TCE

    Bless you! We are about to make history and just maybe correct some of the mistakes we've made–to others and to ourselves.

    October 24, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  14. mms

    hurray for you aaron!you won't be sorry,you did the right thing.it made me cry reading this.

    October 24, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  15. Ike

    Thanks for your wonderful and thougthful soul. I voted already and for they guy that wil save us and our children and grand children from constant fear. Barrack Obama. PLEASE EVERYBODY THAT LOVES THIS COUNTRY OF OURS SHOULD GO AND VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. DONT MIND THE POLLS.

    October 24, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  16. Hellen from Canada.

    Obama keep fighting for the finish line we are with.

    October 24, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  17. megan

    VOTE!!!..no matter who you support. The right to vote is the most important right we possess as Americans. Make yourself heard.

    October 24, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  18. R. Squibbs

    My 72 year-old father is voting for Obama - the first Dem he's voted for since JFK - and his regular old buddies are also breaking with the GOP and voting for Obama.

    It's so encouraging to see old white guys who've gone along with the GOP for decades wake up and realize not just that the Republican party has gone off the rails, but also what a potentially great leader Obama will be.

    October 24, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  19. Carol

    Welcome....we're glad you're here!

    October 24, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  20. conservative

    And the liberals say race doesn't factor ! Har Har de Har har

    October 24, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  21. cm

    I personally know people who are Republicans but this time are voting for Obama because of all this negative stuff republicans McCain/Palin ticket are using against Obama.
    They say this is not the time to use that kind of stuff because the country is in real big problems and we need a leader for the 21st Century. They said will not go as far as register democrats but will vote for Change and Obama is that change. They are family and friends of mine and they are Republicans for Obama.

    October 24, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  22. mary

    who ever wins the election Mccain or obama i hope that we all consider ourselves as americans ready and willing to work together to gain the respect around the world and make this country the strong leader we once was. this will happen when we unite with one another for the good of the country.we cannot strenghten our country being devided. we are at a very serious stage in our economy crisis and it will be with us for a very long,long looooooooooo time so we all should really focus on how we are going to over come these differcult times.it is not going to be easy at all.SO TO ALL AMERICANS LETS UNITE AND GET AMERICA BACK ON THE RIGHT TRACK.

    October 24, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  23. Georgia Girl

    This story is about change and being proud to vote. I have always voted Democrat, but this year I will take my four year old son with me and tell him that one day he can be president and mean it.

    October 24, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  24. oklahoma woman 4 Obama

    This is a good story. It should inspire ANYONE to vote! Even people who are obviously full of hate on either side. Vote! I know who I an voting for! Good luck Obama!

    October 24, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  25. snydergrant

    such blind fools.this guy along w harry reed,nancy pelosi,barney frank,chuckie schumber,maxine waters,will finalize the destruction of america,dems are the ones who almost single handedly brought down the worldseconomy.see youtube//fannie mae freddie mac hearings 2004.were screwed,,see u in the soup lines

    October 24, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
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