JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – He may have taken on the president in the Arkansas Democratic primary last week, but now John Wolfe plans to battle the Democratic Party of Arkansas for delegates.
Wolfe spoke exclusively to Region 8 News over the phone from a campaign stop in Texas, where he appeared on the primary ballot Tuesday. He explained why he's running against President Obama and addressed his decision to sue the state Democratic party.
"A lot of people have said to me, you know, why are you running against the Democratic Party?" Wolfe said. "I said, well, I'm not running against the Democratic Party. I'm running for Democratic principles against President Obama."
Wolfe has presented himself as an alternative to the president, and 42 percent of voters in Arkansas supported his candidacy during the primary last week. Now, he is going to court to claim what he believes is his share of the delegates.
"The party charter says that the delegates are supposed to be allocated based on primary results," Wolfe explained. "That's mandatory. It's the rules, but now what they want to do is give 100 percent of the delegates to Mr. Obama, who only got 58 percent of the vote."
The Democratic Party of Arkansas says Wolfe cannot claim any delegates because he failed to comply with state party rules to secure them. The party alleges he neither filed forms regarding delegate selection and affirmative action nor appointed a campaign representative in the state. In a lawsuit filed in federal court Friday, Wolfe says he did everything the party asked of him, including giving officials a $2,500 check to file for office.
"We want the delegates," Wolfe said, "because what we want to do is bring a caucus with us over to North Carolina and present some alternative platforms from what the president's doing."
The Tennessee-based lawyer says he's grateful for the support he gained during the Arkansas primary, but he rebuffed concerned the votes were strictly protesting the president's performance.
Wolfe suggests people have instead taken to his platform now that the results in several states have shown Obama's weakness in Southern primaries. He has, however, kept his campaign afloat mostly from his own retirement account. He says it's worth it to at least give voters a choice.
"I think this whole thing is an exercise attributed to democracy," Wolfe explained. "We're actually giving people a choice between John Wolfe and a billion-dollar campaign."
Candace Martin, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, issued a short statement Tuesday regarding the lawsuit. She wrote in an email that, at this time, the party is reviewing the case with its legal counsel.