OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — President Barack Obama’s victory in Oklahoma’s Democratic primary was far less emphatic than typical for an incumbent president, and his poor showing in more than a dozen of the state’s counties threatened to cost him a unanimous re-nomination.
With all the state’s 1,961 precincts reporting unofficial results from Tuesday’s vote, Obama had 57 percent of the ballot. An anti-abortion activist, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, had 18 percent and under party rules could lay claim to at least one delegate.
“This shows real dissatisfaction,” said Ben Odom, a political strategist and a former vice chairman of the state Democratic Party. “You had a pro-life activist and three people who didn’t mount a campaign get 44 percent of the vote. … An incumbent president ought to be polling at least 80 percent, particularly against this kind of opposition.”
Prior to Tuesday, Obama had claimed all delegates, the Democratic National Committee said last week. Odom said a vote count showing that more than 40 percent of Oklahoma Democrats disapprove of the president’s job performance is “a real disaster for the Obama campaign in Oklahoma.”
The state is conservative — Oklahoma hasn’t given its electoral votes to a Democratic nominee since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 — and Obama likely upset some in the powerful oil and gas industry when he rejected plans for the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to Texas via a depot at Cushing.
According to Democratic Party rules, Terry is eligible for a delegate since he won more than 15 percent of the statewide vote. Until Tuesday, Obama had won all of the Democratic delegates awarded so far.
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins said he wanted to review party guidelines before pronouncing that Terry had cost Obama a vote at this summer’s convention.
“If under the rules he (Terry) is awarded a delegate, we’ll be sure he gets one,” Collins said.
Terry, meanwhile, said he entered contests here and elsewhere in an effort to upset Obama’s re-election bid.
“I beat a sitting president as a voice for the babies that are being killed by Obama’s policies,” Terry said in an interview from Tulsa, where he was watching election results.
Terry’s anti-abortion campaign ads were so graphic that many Oklahoma broadcasters issued statements warning viewers about the content.
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