Two in five Kentucky Democrats vote for 'uncommitted' instead of Obama

Lexington Herald-LeaderMay 23, 2012 

About two out of every five Democratic voters in Tuesday's presidential primary in Kentucky chose "uncommitted" instead of voting for President Barack Obama.

The high "uncommitted" vote in the Democratic presidential primary in Kentucky "doesn't say much for the president but you have to remember that this is only a minority of the electorate because of the low voter turnout statewide," said Transylvania University political science professor Don Dugi. "I wouldn't read that much into it other than that it is not a particularly positive thing for the president."

State Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson was ready, almost giddy, Tuesday night to read a lot into it.

"I'm at a victory celebration for 'uncommitted' who performed admirably," said Robertson. "I've never met the guy but know that he highly embarrassed Obama."

Robertson contended that the Democrats who vote most regularly — those he termed "the Democrats of Democrats" — "said 'no' to their president. If the Kentucky Democratic Party doesn't get it after this race, they need to stare long and hard at the results. This shows that Obama has even more than an uphill battle to win Kentucky in the fall."

John McCain trounced Obama in Kentucky four years ago, winning everywhere except in Louisville, Lexington and a handful of traditionally Democratic small counties.

State Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Logsdon said Robertson should temper his exuberance. He noted that Obama was getting more votes than presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Kentucky is a closed primary state, meaning that only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and only Republicans can vote in the Republican primary. Independents can't vote in either.

Logsdon said Democrats "really didn't have a reason to turn out" at the polls Tuesday.

"When turnout is this low, I'm not sure what this means," Logsdon said.

Romney Tuesday swept the Kentucky and Arkansas Republican presidential primaries, inching closer to the GOP nomination he is certain to win.

With no serious opposition left, the former Massachusetts governor easily won both contests, although about a third of Kentuckians voting in the Republican primary favored one of his former rivals or voted for an uncommitted slate to the Republican convention.

Romney is within 110 delegates of winning the nomination, a threshold he should reach next week, when voters go to the polls in Texas.

Romney had previously struggled in some Southern states, when other Republican candidates were still actively campaigning. Tuesday's contests gave him an opportunity to display solid support in two states he should win in November.

Romney has been in general election mode for weeks, spending much of his time fund-raising and focusing on Obama.

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