Just how unpopular is President Barack Obama in some parts of the country? Enough that a man in prison in Texas got 4 out of 10 votes in West Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary.
The inmate, Keith Judd, is serving time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas, for making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999. Obama received 59 percent of the vote to Judd’s 41 percent.
For some West Virginia Democrats, simply running against Obama is enough to get Judd votes.
Obama’s energy policies and the Environmental Protection Agency’s handling of mining-related permits have incurred the wrath of West Virginia’s coal industry. With the state the nation’s second-biggest producer of this fossil fuel, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Sen. Joe Manchin —both Democrats have championed the industry — have declined to say whether they will support Obama in November. Each overcame low-profile opponents in Tuesday’s primary. Manchin refused afterward to say whether he voted for Obama.
Hillary Rodham Clinton beat Obama handily in the state’s 2008 primary, and he lost the state to Republican John McCain in the general election. The latest state-by-state Gallup poll, released in January, found Obama with a 32.7 percent approval rating in West Virginia. The president had a lower approval rating only in Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
“Keith Judd’s performance is embarrassing for Obama and our great state,” outgoing West Virginia GOP Chairman Mike Stuart said.