"Just how unpopular is President Barack Obama in some parts of the country?" asks Lawrence Messina of the Associated Press. So unpopular that a prison inmate came close to defeating him in a state primary. Inmate No. 11593-051, a Texas prisoner named Keith Judd, received 41 percent of the vote in Tuesday's West Virginia Democratic primary, proving that "many West Virginians would vote for just about anyone other than Obama," says Morgan Little at the Los Angeles Times. How did an inmate perform so well? Here, a brief guide to the peculiar primary:
Who is this guy?
Keith Judd is currently serving a 17.5-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas, for extortion and making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999.
How did he become a candidate?
To become eligible for the primary ballot in West Virginia, all you have to do is pay a $2,500 filing fee and fill out a "notarized certification of announcement." And this isn't the first time Judd has appeared on a Democratic primary ballot. He also ran in the 2008 Idaho primary, finishing well behind Obama and Hillary Clinton with 1.7 percent of the vote.
How many votes did he get in West Virginia?
68,766. That amounts to 41 percent of the total. Judd even won 10 of West Virginia's 55 counties. And because he claimed more than 15 percent of the vote, Judd technically qualifies to receive at least one delegate at the Democratic National Convention, although no one has filed to be a delegate for him as of yet.
Why did so many people vote for him?
The votes appear to be against Obama, not for Judd, says Andrew Kaczynski at BuzzFeed. Many in the state simply disdain the president, and race could be a factor. After all, in the 2008 primary, 20 percent of white West Virginia voters cited race as a reason they voted for Clinton — more than in any other state. But that's oversimplifying things, says Rick Moran at American Thinker. Many West Virginians aren't pleased with "Obama's attack on the coal industry, a horrible economy, disappearing jobs, an arrogant demeanor toward rural Americans, and ObamaCare."
Did voters know Judd was an inmate?
It's not clear. The main selling point, agrees Messina, appeared to be that Judd was not Obama. "I voted against Obama," says 43-year-old electrician Ronnie Brown. "I don't like him." Asked who he did vote for, Brown said, "That guy out of Texas."
Have other primary candidates done well against Obama?
Voters in other conservative states have also displayed their displeasure with the president. An anti-abortion protester in Oklahoma scored 18 percent of the vote in that primary. A Tennessee lawyer won 18,000 votes in Louisiana, while 18 percent of Democratic voters in Alabama opted to choose "uncommitted" in favor of voting for Obama. After West Virginia, says Aliyah Shahid at New York's Daily News, "the challenges President Obama may face in November's election were made crystal-clear."