The president’s weakness has created an opening for John Wolfe, a Tennessee lawyer and sometime congressional candidate, who took just 246 votes — or 0.4 percent of the total — in this year’s New Hampshire primary.
Despite limited funds and in-state campaigning and robocalling, Wolfe appears poised to cut deeply into Obama’s primary vote margin in Arkansas on Tuesday. One poll showed Obama up by only 7 percentage points in the state’s conservative 4th congressional district.
Arkansas is the last Southern state remaining where Democrats have held onto their traditional majorities in the Legislature. But Republicans are now within striking distance there as well — thanks, in part, to Obama.
“Republicans won a whole bunch of legislative seats they had never competed in before” in 2010, says Roby Brock, editor of TalkBusiness.net, which conducted the recent 4th District poll. “A lot of that was an anti-Obama vote they took out on people who were on the ballot as a whole.”
With Obama on the ballot himself this fall, will Arkansans be satisfied voting against him, or will they take their feelings out on Democrats in general?
Because of state law requiring redrawn state Senate districts after each U.S. census, Arkansas voters will select the entire state Legislature on Nov. 6 — all 100 House seats and all 35 Senate seats.
Thanks to their gains in 2010, however, Republicans need only to pick up three seats to win control of the state Senate and five to take over the state House. The state has been trending more toward the GOP — Arkansas elected John Boozman as only its second post-Reconstruction U.S. senator two years ago.
An especially poor showing by Obama this fall might just wipe away the Democrats’ historic majorities.