- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2012

President Obama won 58 percent of the vote in Kentucky’s Democratic primary on Tuesday but lost 42 percent of the vote to “uncommitted” — another worrisome sign for him as he seeks re-election.

By contrast Mitt Romney won 67 percent of the vote in Kentucky’s Republican primary Tuesday night, even with actual candidates such as Rep. Ron Paul, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich still on the ballot.

Further west, Mr. Romney also won the sort-of head-to-head battle in Arkansas, where with most votes in he had collected 69 percent of the vote in that state’s GOP primary, compared to Mr. Obama’s 59 percent in the Democratic primary.

Both states are almost certain to vote for Mr. Romney in the general election in November, but Tuesday’s showing suggests a continued reluctance by many Democrats to embrace their party leader after more than three years in office.

In 2008 then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won Kentucky’s Democratic primary with 66 percent of the vote, easily outdistancing Mr. Obama. She also dominated in Arkansas, where she was first lady for many years.

In that year’s GOP primary Sen. John McCain won 72 percent of the vote in Kentucky — ahead of Mr. Romney’s share this year, suggesting some remaining reluctance among Republicans for their likely nominee, too. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee won Arkansas’s primary in 2008 — not surprising given that he had been governor there, succeeding Bill Clinton.

Mr. Romney has been through a bruising primary with his opponents, whereas Mr. Obama has been running almost unopposed.

He suffered hiccups in Oklahoma — where he only won 57 percent of the vote, and pro-life activist Randall A. Terry collected 18 percent, while three others combined for the rest of the vote — and in West Virginia, where a federal prisoner, Keith Judd, won 41 percent of the vote.

In Arkansas, with most precincts reporting, Mr. Obama had 59 percent of the vote while a man named John Wolfe, a frequent gadfly candidate from Tennessee, was collecting 41 percent.