Super Tuesday 2012: President Obama loses a delegate to Randall Terry

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Randall Terry.
Image: Marc Nozell.
President Barack Obama.

U.S. President Barack Obama was not able to secure all the delegates available at the Oklahoma Democratic primary on Super Tuesday. Though Obama finished in first place with 57 percent, anti-abortion activist Randall Terry was able to capture 18 percent of the vote, entitling him to at least one delegate. As a result, Obama may not be unanimously nominated at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in September.

Terry said in February, he hoped to win five or six percent. He received a boost when conservative icon Ann Coulter agreed to speak at his Oklahoma fundraiser. Additionally, he was able to spread his message through the state with television advertisements depicting aborted fetuses.

"There are still Democrats who love innocent babies more than they love the party" said Terry to the Tulsa World; and to the The Wall Street Journal, "Everyone will know what it means to be pro-life when this election cycle’s over." According to The Wall Street Journal, he will appear on six more primary ballots, starting with New Jersey.

Along with the delegate, Terry also won twelve of Oklahoma's 77 counties. However, he was not the only challenger to win counties; the 2010 U.S. Senate nominee for the Democratic Party in Oklahoma, Jim Rogers, won three. He finished in third place overall with 14 percent, one percent short of the threshold required to qualify for delegates. Progressive activist Darcy Richardson was fourth with six percent.

The last time an incumbent president was unable to win all the delegates during the presidential primaries was in 1996, when Bill Clinton-challenger Lyndon LaRouche won delegates in Louisiana and Virginia. The Democratic Party took them away, citing LaRouche's views as "explicitly racist and anti-Semitic, and otherwise utterly contrary to the fundamental beliefs...of the Democratic Party". LaRouche later sued but was unsuccessful.

Trav Robertson, interim executive director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party remarked, "In every primary there is a fringe candidate that appears on the ballot and attempts to capture delegates from a sitting president." He cited LaRouche in 1996 as well as Pat Buchanan, Howard Phillips, and Alan Keyes who challenged George H.W. Bush in 1992.

On whether Terry would keep the delegate, Robertson declared, "The party is reviewing the election results and will abide by previously established rules regarding the allotment of delegates. No matter what, we know President Obama will win the majority of delegates at this year’s convention."


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