Candidate who won 42 percent in Arkansas Democratic primary sues for his delegates

The Democratic presidential candidate who won 42 percent of the vote in the Arkansas primary against President Obama has filed a suit against the state party, claiming it "stifled" voter enthusiasm by saying he was ineligible to win convention delegates, then withheld his fair share of them.

The candidate, John Wolfe Jr., filed the suit Friday in an Arkansas federal district court. The eight-page suit argues the Arkansas Democratic Party's actions has denied him his constitutional rights and "disenfranchised" the 67,064 residents who voted for him.

President Obama received 58 percent of the vote in the Tuesday primary and will almost certainly win the party nomination at the national convention in September.

But Wolfe's surprising finish and the results of other recent Southern state primaries suggests voters in that region are dissatisfied with the president's job performance over his first four years.

It also suggests he might have a more-difficult-than-expected time winning in such key states as Virginia and North Carolina during the general election.

Also on Tuesday, 42 percent of Kentucky voters picked "uncommitted," compared to 59 percent for Obama, who is seeking a second term. Earlier this month, federal inmate Keith Judd received 41 percent of the vote in the West Virginia Democratic primary.

In the suit, Wolfe, a Tennessee attorney, argues the decision to deny him the delegates was ordered by the Democratic National Committee and specifically names Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

"The sham that the Democratic Party's elite in D.C. have perpetuated against 67,604 Arkansas voters is about to end," Elizabaeth Wilson, a campaign spokeswoman said. "Trying to create the illusion of party unanimity, the D.C. elite ordered local Democrats to disenfranchise their own Arkansas voters."

Arkansas has 55 delegates and three alternatives.

State party officials have said Wolfe missed two paperwork filing deadlines related to the delegate process.

Wolfe argues he was not informed of such when he gave the party his $2,500 registration fee in March and that accepting it implied his paperwork was complete.

He also argues party officials said during early voting that he would not be awarded delegates, contradicting earlier statements that the issues would be resolved after the May 22 primary,  and that their statements  were a "purposeful attempt to tamp down voter enthusiasm … to ensure a primary victory for Barack Obama."

The state party has not returned calls about the delegate issue.

Wofle also won 12 percent of the vote in the Louisiana primary and intends to enter the June 9 primary in Texas.

"Texas is a good place to be," Wolfe told earlier this week.