This year, most of Judd’s appeal in West Virginia seems to be tied to protest voting. Despite that state’s $2,500 cost of entry, Judd appealed to disaffected Democrats in a state Obama lost by 13 percentage points in 2008.
“I voted against Obama,” self-described conservative Democrat Ronnie Brown told the Associated Press. “I don’t like him. He didn’t carry the state before and I’m not going to let him carry it again.”
Asked who he voted for, Brown said, “That guy out of Texas.”
Democratic consultant Mike Plante told West Virginia MetroNews that ”most of the people who were casting a vote for Keith Judd, it was not a vote for him, it was a vote expressing dissatisfaction with the president.”
“Barack Obama has not run strong here in the past,” Plante said, ”And probably will not run strong in the fall.”
West Virginia Wesleyan political science professor Robert Rupp told the Charleston Gazette on Monday that ”the top Democrats in the state,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, are “expressing doubts about this president.”
West Virginians seem to be on the same page. A statewide presidential poll published by the Charleston Daily Mail last week gave Republican Mitt Romney a 54-37 edge over the president.
“When voters go to cast a protest vote, they never know who they’re voting for. It’s who they’re voting against,” Rupp said.
Could Judd be president from behind bars? That question would only be relevant if he should manage to parlay his sudden infamy into the unlikeliest of come-from-behind Cinderella stories.
His prison release, adjusted for good behavior, is reportedly scheduled for June 2013.