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. adg

    I am very proud to vote for Obama. I did'nt have to drive 600 miles. but it was a good day when I placed my vote ! A Woman for Obama!!!! Its awsome to see everyone getting out to vote early. GO VOTE!!!!

    October 24, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. gEnie

    Smart guy, Obama/Biden

    October 24, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. jimmy

    IF AMERICA BELIEVES jOE BIDEN'S STATEMENT THAT THE NEXT PRESIDENT WILL BE TESTED BY AN INTERNATIONAL CRISIS WITHIN SIX MONTHS OF HIS PRESIDENCY,, THEN WE NEED A MAN LIKE JOHN MCCAIN TO BE COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

    October 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. Get real Sarah Palin

    This is a nice article for a change. Yay!

    October 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Ryan in Omaha

    Aaron Wheeler for congress.

    October 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. Austin, GA

    I'm proud of you brother. Lets all vote smart and not just by race. Obama is definitely the best candidate

    October 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  7. Nina in Orlando

    Great stoy. Thank you for your support!

    Obama 08

    October 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  8. deb in Colo

    What a beautiful story. Thanks for the tears in my eyes!

    October 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. kayla

    AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL. GOD BLESS AMERICA. AND GOD BLESS SEN OBAMA. YOU ARE A ND HAVE BEEN AN INSPIRATION TO MANY OF US. OBAMA 08

    October 24, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. E

    It will be a wonderful day when Barack is elected. This country will once again have HOPE.

    October 24, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  11. Michael

    I am a White Republican who voted for Obama. McCain has destroyed my Republican Party with his lies and negative divisive attacks.

    October 24, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. Obamania08

    What a great story. I'm not black, but I'm proud to vote for Obama because he reaches across all lines. This country is on its way back!

    October 24, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. Lyndon,CA

    There will not be a dry eye around come November 5th. The day after the 4th and the day America counts the numbers.

    October 24, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Zion

    I voted yesterday, and it was for Obama. Yet again, another Republican for Obama (me).

    October 24, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Alan

    You reached deep inside my old white 65 year old heart and touched me deeply. Thank you.

    October 24, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Mad

    If McCain had the same plans he would still vote Obama
    lets face it

    October 24, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  17. robert erikson

    Really. You tear up when psychopaths lie to you. Interesting.

    October 24, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  18. Nevada

    ****
    I am an Asian-American.
    What a historic moment that we all live in!
    I am proud to be part of the history.... tears in my eyes.
    Congratulations to all Americans.
    Yes, even to those who are still having hard time seeing what's important ... during our short stay on the earth.
    We have moved forward significantly.
    ****

    October 24, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I admire this man for voting for Obama, and for the reason he did so.

    However, I do not understand how one can march with Martin Luther King and turn out a Republican......this has got me baffled to say the least.

    McCain's hormonal sniffing out of Sarah Palin which led to him choosing Palin as his VP running mate will probably define McCain's career as a politician...and nothing more.

    October 24, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  20. rm

    Oh my God!!!! I know there are a lot of people who can not relate to the mean spirited things that Palin and McCain have said about Obama. Each time I hear their lies and hateful things, I think about Obama's daughters and how they must feel to hear people say those awful things about their father. For all that don't support Obama, that is your choice. But just imagine if someone spoke of your mother or father publicly the way Palin and McCain speaks of Obama. Obama let's it roll off his back and has NEVER attacked McCain or Palin's character on stage(Keating 5, AIP, Troopergate, G. Gordon Liddy and the list goes on). I'll bet 98% of the country would have folded by now.

    Obama all the way!!!

    October 24, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  21. DEBBIE

    VOTING--IS JUST LIKE DRIVING

    IF YOU WANT TO GO BACKWARD
    VOTE– (R ) EPUBLICAN

    IF YOU WANT TO GO FORWARD
    CHOOSE –(D) EMOCRAT

    REPUBLICAN=REVERSE=GO BACKWARD

    DEMOCRAT=DRIVE=GO FORWARD

    October 24, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  22. Bruce

    Vote Now!!! Vote Obama/Biden!!!!!

    October 24, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  23. DianeKentucky

    My 93 year old grandmother in Ohio just cast her vote for the first time for a Democrat too. By the way, she is white.
    GO OBAMA!!

    October 24, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Terry from PA.

    God Bless !

    October 24, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  25. Smart

    PLEASE DO NOT LET THE POLL DECEIVE YOU. EVERY VOTE COUNTS. PLEASE WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE EVERY ELIGIBLE VOTER YOU KNOW TO VOTE FOR A CHANGE!

    October 24, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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