The Washington Post

Obama loses 40 percent of the primary vote in Arkansas, Kentucky

Updated at 12:20 a.m.

President Obama lost more than 40 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Arkansas and Kentucky Democratic primaries, despite little-to-no opposition.

Obama lost 42 percent of the vote to the “uncommitted” option in Kentucky and more than 40 percent to little-known attorney John Wolfe in Arkansas — the latest example of the incumbent president failing to win significant shares of votes in uncompetitive contests.

But it’s not the first time the president has taken less than 60 percent of the vote in a primary this year.

He ceded 41 percent of the vote in West Virginia to an incarcerated man in Texas named Keith Judd, and in Oklahoma, Obama lost several counties and won just 57 percent of the vote.

Kentucky’s vote was notable, though, for the fact that there weren’t even any other candidates on the ballot. The most the “uncommitted” option won so far this primary season was previously 21 percent in the North Carolina primary earlier this month. Kentucky looks as though it will double that number.

In addition, Obama looked as though he may lose more than half of the state’s 120 counties.

In Arkansas, Wolfe was rivaling the vote share taken in West Virginia by Judd. Obama led him 59 percent to 41 percent with 87 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning.

Obama has struggled the most this primary season in states in the South and Appalachia — which he was unlikely to win anyway in November — but he has also ceded big chunks of votes in swing states like North Carolina and New Hampshire.

For more on his primary vote struggles, see The Fix’s recap from earlier today.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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