Obama Challenger in Arkansas Primary Says He Will Sue for Delegates
(CNSNews.com) – The Democratic opponent to President Barack Obama in the Arkansas presidential primary Tuesday – who is polling within striking distance of Obama in one congressional district – said he will sue to have his delegates seated at the Democratic National Convention.
“Open the convention up. If people really want him to be re-nominated, let the delegates have that choice,” John Wolfe, a 58-year-old attorney from Chattanooga, Tenn., told CNSNews.com.
The Arkansas Democratic Party does not plan to allow Wolfe to have delegates, the Associated Press reported last week – because he missed deadlines on paperwork. Wolfe said these concerns only erupted after the polls showed a tight race in one district.
Wolfe is trailing the president by just seven points in Arkansas’s fourth congressional district and is drawing a quarter of the votes statewide, according to the Talk Business/Hendrix College poll released May 10. Wolfe believes he has more momentum since that poll made news last week.
“They’ll be going to Little Rock federal court. I don’t want to litigate. I’m a lawyer. I can draw the papers up. If they want to see what the judge says, that’s fine,” Wolfe said. “I think it’s going to be a very, very close night tomorrow night. I think people are going to be surprised. I think people from Texas are going to hear the echoes from Arkansas.”
Texas has a primary next week.
A strong performance against the incumbent president by an unknown in a Democratic primary has already happened in West Virginia, where inmate Keith Judd, serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas, got 41 percent of the vote against Obama. In Oklahoma, pro-life protester Randall Terry got 18 percent of the primary vote in March.
Wolfe, on the ballot in five states, won 12 percent of the vote against Obama in the Louisiana Democratic primary. The Louisiana Democrats have also refused to award him any delegates. While posing no danger to Obama’s path to his party’s nomination, the contests could prove embarrassing.
Though Wolfe said he doesn’t like labels, he seems to be running to the left of Obama on most issues. His campaign website calls for “Medicare for all” and a “Wall Street tax,” among other items.
Wolfe has been on the ballot in five states, New Hampshire, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.
A spokesperson with the Arkansas Democratic Party did not respond to CNSNews.com Monday.
However, the Associated Press reported on May 17 that Arkansas Democratic Party spokeswoman Candace Martin said Wolfe missed deadlines to certify an authorized representative for his campaign in the state and to provide a necessary statement of participation to the state party. Thus, he would not qualify for delegates.
Martin said the Democratic National Committee has told the Arkansas Democratic Party that delegates Wolfe might claim won’t be recognized at the national convention to be held this summer in Charlotte, N.C.
Under Arkansas Democratic Party rules, a candidate gaining 15 percent in any congressional district is entitled to delegates, Wolfe said.
Wolfe said when he paid his $2,500 filing fee to the party on March 1, they did not tell him he had missed deadlines from December 2011 and February 2012.
“They got worried because Obama is losing his lead, and now they’re looking backward to find things to yank them out of the past to disqualify me and veto the popular will,” Wolfe said.
Statewide, Obama leads Wolfe 65 percent to 24 percent among Arkansas voters, with 11 percent undecided. In Arkansas’s fourth congressional district, Obama leads by just 45 percent to 38 percent, with 17 percent undecided.