Arkansas primary may pose challenge for Obama
May 22nd, 2012
10:50 AM ET
2 years ago

Arkansas primary may pose challenge for Obama

(CNN) – Arkansas's Democratic presidential primary, which takes place Tuesday, wouldn't ordinarily seem like a political fight. After all, President Barack Obama has already wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination and is engaged in a heated general election campaign with GOP rival Mitt Romney.

But the Arkansas primary may become another political headache for Obama, who two weeks ago faced an unlikely challenge from a federal inmate in West Virginia's Democratic contest. In Arkansas, the challenge comes from John Wolfe, a perpetual Democratic presidential candidate who has never held political office.

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A poll taken in Arkansas's fourth Congressional district - which includes the towns of Hope, Hot Springs and Camden – shows less than half of Democratic primary voters (45%) support Obama. Thirty-eight percent said they back Wolfe and 17% are undecided.

Wolfe's challenge to Obama will be more about appearance than substance – after all, Obama already has the requisite delegates to become his party's nominee at this summer's Democratic National Convention. But losing a Democratic primary would not look great for his campaign, which has sought to put states into play that were previously considered unwinnable for Democrats.

Obama lost Arkansas by 20 percentage points to Sen. John McCain in 2008, 59%-39%, and the state has never been on the Obama team's radar. However, other southern and Appalachian states certainly are: North Carolina and Virginia are both states Obama won in 2008 but that he's fighting to retain in 2012. If Wolfe wins, or comes close to winning Arkansas' Democratic primary, it will potentially throw into question Obama's ability to woo voters in those states.

It would also be the second time in the past month the president has faced a Democratic challenge in a state unlikely to vote for him in the fall.

In West Virginia's May 8 primary, Keith Judd received a sizable chuck of the Democratic vote – 41% by the latest count. Judd is currently serving a 210-month sentence in a federal prison in Texas for extortion.

In an interview with CNN after the election, Judd attributed his success to anger directed toward the political establishment.

"The poor and middle class are being controlled by the wealthy," Judd said. "It's like Monopoly. When one person gets all the money, the game is over."

Asked about Judd's success in an interview with WTOV, Vice President Joe Biden said he doesn't "blame people, they're frustrated, they're angry."

"When you're out of work, man, it's a depression," Biden told the CNN Ohio affiliate. "And a lot of people are still hurt because of this God awful recession we inherited that cost 8.4 million jobs before we could really get going."

– CNN's Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Arkansas • President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Kenny K

    CNN make it seems as if they are states he worn in 2008; they do not make that much difference for president in 2012 election.

    May 22, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Phil

    "When you're out of work, man, it's a depression," Biden told the CNN Ohio affiliate. "And a lot of people are still hurt because of this God awful recession we inherited that cost 8.4 million jobs before we could really get going." And so after inheriting this god awful depression and recognizing that it was very bad, President Obama focused like a laser beam on....wait for it....HEALTH CARE. Now if he had focused correctly on the real problem that he inherited, then he would be in a btter position. So let's review; he inherited a bad economy: True. He focused on health care instead of the economy : True. The economy is still floundering because he chose to focus on health care first instead of this god awful depression that he inherited :True. He made these decisions, he chose his priorities and mis calculated this god awful depression : True. So he shouldn't be blamed for this god awful depression, but he should be blamed for not properly prioritizing it and not taking the best corrective actions to improve it : True. So live with your choices and stop blaming others for your decisions.

    May 22, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. Enough is Enough

    Obama should be serving a 210-month sentence in a federal prison for incompetence.

    May 22, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Guess What

    haha, and convict almost beats obama in West Virginia and now another challenge, its great because obama is useless. Take the lead Arkansas, kick obama off the ballot.

    May 22, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. gg

    please give the republicans a war, so they can calm down a little bit

    May 22, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. judy

    the south should susceed full of a bunch of marry your cousin idiots. Most vote repo anyway which tells you something right there

    May 22, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. Dr. KnowItAll

    Really 41% to a felon in West Virginia ?
    Obama has no chance at a second term. If uit were not for Biden being number 2, I would encourage BO to step down now.

    May 22, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. John, PA

    Everything is a challenge for this president; not just the Arkansas presidential primary. The job market is a challenge, the housing market is a challenge, unemployment is a challenge and the massive debt; 5 trillion dollars in three and a half years accumulated is a challenge Mr. Obama cannot overcome.

    May 22, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. bethjoyce

    Who cares. Why are we paying any attention to this anyway!!

    May 22, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Fair is Fair

    This story brings sunshine to an otherwise dreary New England day.

    May 22, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. BB

    It's about pure, absolute, vile, unadulterated, vicious, wretched hate for the man in the White House.

    May 22, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. cali girl

    A blip on the real stage.

    May 22, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. Anonymous

    "Who cares. Why are we paying any attention to this anyway!!"

    Feeding the TeaPers is something CNN prides itself on.

    May 22, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Bill in Florida

    Making headlines about non-issues. Barack Obama already is the Democratic nominee for President - something Mitt Romney wishes he could say on the Republican side. Head to head against Obama, I don't see Romney having much of a chance. Obama is way ahead on the electoral votes; in fact, he almost has 270 votes already, taking all polling into account.

    May 22, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. WiredweirdinSF

    Hopefully this will be another primary where Obama gets shellacked by another person with more mangement experience than he will ever have, he is after all the most corrupt, inept, incompetent, union toady president we have ever had.

    May 22, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Woman In California

    This story brings sunshine to an otherwise dreary New England day.

    Well, since California IS the golden state our president doesn't need to concern himself with this tad bit of news.

    May 22, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Some Democrat Guy

    This don't confront me as long as I get my check on the 3rd of the month.

    May 22, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. DB in AR

    Mississippi loves Arkansas because as the next to last most relevant state in the nation we make the being the least relevant possible. That is our ONLY claim to fame. We bad but were not Mississippi. I can tell you that we won't let a little thing like voting for you own self interest (we are one of the poorest states in America and need the most social services per capita) stand in the way of blatantly racist protest vote.

    May 22, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Stuffit

    Of course you will not read it in CNN, but has anyone heard about the NEA toadie in North Carolina telling one of her students that she would go to jail for criticizing Obama? This is the NEA in action, any further questions about the dumbing down of America? We know its working, we now have the most inept, incompetent, corrupt, union toady president in historuy.

    May 22, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Nathan

    This would be news in the northeast. It's not news in WV or Arkansas. Obama is hated in these places for obvious reasons. He has no chance of winning either of these states. Not enough educated people in either one of these states so who cares. The guy in prison says that he got votes because the wealthy has all the money. Hasn't Obama been saying that for 4 years. Dosen't Romney's policies make that situation worst. This is what I mean by uneducated voters.

    May 22, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it no matter how absurd it is.

    Anyone who thinks Mitt Romney and the Republicans can fix the economy needs to have their head examined. Republicans do not want to fix the economy as much as they want to jury rig the economy and the tax codes so that all of that wealth in this country funnels its' way to an elite few.

    May 22, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS

    All I know is, if Willard becomes President, I'm leaving the country. We're guaranteed to get attacked again with him as President. Absolutely no foreign policy experience with a bunch of Bush cronies telling him what to do equals disaster.

    May 22, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Obama would have lost or come close to losing a LOT of states if he had an opponent. Many Deomcrats support him because he's a Democrat, NOT because he's done a good job for 4 years, NOT because he deserves to be re-elected, NOT because it would be the best thing for the country.

    May 22, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "The economy is still floundering because he chose to focus on health care first instead of this god awful depression that he inherited"

    FALSE. President Obama has worked his butt off. Despite the massive amounts of obstruction by your GOBP cult, the Dow is up and unemployment down. By all measures, he has also reduce the debt relative to GDP. Get a clue.

    May 22, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. Ronda in Houston,TX

    And why is this news CNN?

    May 22, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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