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Ky. Dems send message to Obama in primary protest vote

by Joe Arnold


Posted on May 23, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 23 at 5:42 PM

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- Two weeks after a prison inmate got 42 percent of the Democratic presidential primary vote in West Virginia, 42 percent of Kentucky's Democratic primary voters also voted against President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

In Kentucky, those voters chose to elect "uncommitted" delegates instead.

Kentucky Democratic Primary

Barack OBAMA (DEM) 57.85%    119,290
'UNCOMMITTED'           42.15%       86,922

A wide margin of victory in Louisville, by 31,463 votes, helped the President carry the state, but Democrat voters in a majority of Kentucky's counties chose "Uncommitted" instead.

"Everybody's sick of Barack Obama," said Justin Campbell as he sat in a barber chair at Keith's Barber Shop in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

Patience is wearing thin on South Buckman Street in Shepherdsville, the Bullitt County seat.  A majority of Bullitt County Democrat Primary voters chose "Uncommitted."

Bullitt County Democratic Primary

Barack OBAMA (DEM)    47.37%    1,379
'UNCOMMITTED'               52.63%    1,532 

"I'm beside myself on this stuff," said Dan Coomer of Mt. Washington.

The chairman of the Bullitt County Democratic Party Executive Committee, Scott Wantland, said the "huge" protest vote reflects the makeup of traditional Democrats in rural Kentucky.

"So many of Democrats in rural parts of Kentucky come from organized labor, rooted in the post reconstruction Democratic movement," Wantland explained.

"Not people super excited about President Obama or his agenda," Wantland added. 

The Shepherdsville attorney suggested that publicity of the prison inmate's electoral success against Mr. Obama in West Virginia may have "put a bug in their ear to register a protest vote."

"I don't know why that happened, but it's unusual," said Anita Hightower as she ate lunch with her family at the Country Cupboard restaurant.

As it turns out, it was not unusual.  Democrats in the majority of Kentucky's 120 counties rejected Mr. Obama. 

Mr. Obama won 52 counties -- colored green on this map, including Jefferson, Oldham and Shelby Counties.

But in 67 counties, colored blue on the map, "Uncommitted" won, including Bullitt, Spencer, Henry and Trimble counties.

Calloway County in southwestern Kentucky tied.

"(I'm) disappointed but not surprised because too many people expect miracles," said Barbara Jordan, a Country Cupboard waitress.

"Give him a chance," Jordan continued, "Four years is not enough time to correct the mistakes made by the past president."

Yet, Bullitt County voters are expressing an impatience with the Obama Administration's job performance.

"Because he's not doing the job he said he was going to do, put it that way," Coomer said. "He was supposed to help the economy, the economy is not being helped."

"Everybody's fed up with how he's run the country and the decisions he's making," Campbell said.

"He's done some of the things he's said he is going to do," said Erin Donoho, "but he hasn't been the president that I thought he would be."

"I just think that there's people that's not making it very well, and that's what he promised," Hightower said.  "And they still feel like they're not doing any better."

"Don't expect miracles," Jordan repeated.  "You know, don't expect miracles."

Donoho said that race is also a factor in the Kentucky vote. 

"Yes, definitely I think so. Really," Donoho said.  "I don't think it's right because I think everyone should have their own freedoms, but I definitely believe that it is a very big issue upon that. And he got a lot of publicity for being the first interracial president that we've had.  so, I think that's a really big issue."

In the Arkansas Democrat Primary, lawyer and Occupy Wall Street supporter John Wolfe also registered 42 percent support against Mr. Obama.

Though presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney scored a higher percentage of his party's voters in the primary yesterday at 67 percent, Barack Obama still had more total votes in Kentucky than Romney.