October 24th, 2008
06:00 PM ET
5 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. Vic

    Many of my fellow Republicans are seeing the light. Go early voters!

    Registered Republican "voted" Obama/Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  2. Linton

    Voted in VA today, DMV to be precise. It was nice and smooth.
    McCaine and Palin's campaign stinks, all kinds of hoax against Obama. Vote early if you can and vote Obama for the change we can believe in.

    October 24, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  3. Helen

    Oh please - what was so negative? I hope you would not have to shed much more tears 1 year from Obama being elected.

    We will have WELFARE STATES – so much for the economy!!!

    GO PALIN

    October 24, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. Camden from mt

    I have a feeling come election day we will see people voting for barack over mccain by a landslide.

    October 24, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. CJ/PA

    I heard Fmr. Gov. Weld of, I believe, MN, say today, to paraphase, "A talent like Barack Obama comes along once in a decade, and maybe even once in a Lifetime." I believe that, and that is why, as a 63 year old white woman, and going against the so-called "demographics," I can't wait to vote for Barack Obama. I e-mailed him 6 months prior to his even forming an exploratory committee to ask him to please run for President because he was desperately needed. Thank God he listened!! Obama/Biden – '08

    October 24, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. Tariq

    You hear a lot of news about long time republicans and heavy-weight republicans having a high profile in the republican party who are voting for Obama for the first time in their life. We can argue that race is the reason and we can yell it out as loud as Limbaugh did...it is dangerously narrow-minded to think it is "the" reason and completely ignore the wave of Republicans like Susan Eisenhower and Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson stepping across party lines to endorse Obama. I recognize that Lieberman is a democrat, and a formidable one, who endorsed McCain...but is that it?

    October 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. kirk, fl

    its the content of his character. YES WE CAN.

    October 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. kingsorcerer

    yes, we can.

    October 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. New England Yankee

    This sums up Barack Obama's life. If he can motivate this man do go that far to vote, Barack Obama will energize this entire country!

    October 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. janet, ohio

    Give. Me. A. BREAK!

    October 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Parker San Fran, CA

    Nice work! Communism is not that bad. I lived in Romania years ago when it was still under the Soviet regime. Standard concrete block housing (no snooty people in their McMansions lording over you), EQUAL rations for all food and fuel staples, no tolerance for religious people. We can pull it off here too. Kind of ironic, McCain lost to the Communists 40 years ago and now he will lose again in 2008!

    Obama/Biden '08!!!

    October 24, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  12. Sally

    Way to go Aaron. Once McCain chose Palin as his running mate, he sealed his fate. Can't wait for Caribou Barbie to go back to Alaska where she belongs.....far away from Washington.

    October 24, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. AZ4OBAMA

    Keep on keeping on my man....you did your country a great help by not voting Republican. 600 miles.......i don't think i'll do it but thats why we have people like you ....lol....Great job.

    October 24, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. Marge

    Gee and just look at his ethenic orientation. Who would have thought it.

    October 24, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. Chris

    i dont think pallin is ready to be a v. p. as yet because she could not name a federal judge and could not name one news paper that she reads.Another thing she attacks too much we want to hears about the issues.And i am talking about negative attacks.

    October 24, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. cmb

    and that is why we need Mr. Obama as president

    October 24, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. It's Time

    I got teary eyed reading this. God bless you sir! This is more than an election for many people. This is a moment to be proud of for all Americans no matter what color you are. It shows that we all share dreams, hopes, and prosperity. We can make it America – Yes We Can.

    Let's unite!

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Liz from Atl

    That is a beautiful story!! It brought tears to MY eyes.

    October 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  19. Chris from STL

    Great story of a true custodian of democracy ....

    October 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. Joanna

    We will make HISTORY!!!
    (Barack Obama: a man of BOTH worlds!)

    October 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Elenanatx

    I am so proud of him and will be really, really proud of our country on November 4th.

    October 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. jforobama

    What a great story. God bless you!

    October 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. angie in dallas 28

    i can not say i understand what he feels as i don't. but I CAN say i am right there with you when i get tears in my eyes just THINKING about my vote.
    history man!, history. tomorrow the democratic party of dallas is meeting up for a meet and great at a local park then as a whole we're walking to a local church to vote early.

    amazing huh?

    October 24, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. adam, Colorado

    You da man Aaron! It's time we put some brains back into the oval office.

    October 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. nate

    Just a wonderful moving item. This is why we are changing the country. Hope triumphs over Hate this time. 0/08.

    October 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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