EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSPRIMARY ELECTION SHOCKER
from Eyewitness News Online
Federal Inmate Beats Obama In 10 W.Va. Counties; Voters Speak Out About Vote
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: May. 9, 2012 11:19 AM EDT
Updated: May. 9, 2012 7:25 PM EDT
Logan , Logan County , West Virginia
What was thought to be an easy race, ended up stealing the show in West Virginia's Primary election. A convicted felon who's currently in prison gave President Barack Obama a run for his money in the democratic primary.
Keith Judd won 40% of the vote to President Obama's 60%. He beat the President in ten counties including Hardy, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Webster, Wyoming, Boone, Clay, Gilmer and Tucker.
Judd is better known as inmate number 11593-051. He is 53, and was born in Pasadena, California. He's currently serving a 17-year sentence for extortion in a federal prison in Beaumont, Texas for making threats against the University of New Mexico.
The overwhelming support he received from West Virginia voters has garnered national attention.
For the voters we spoke to, the reason for the outcome can be summed up in one word, coal. Many say they considered Judd the alternative to Obama and didn't know he was an inmate but some say even knowing that didn't stop them.
Donald Muncy, who owns a pawn shop in downtown Logan, says he noticed a change right after President Obama was elected in 2008, his gun business skyrocketed but he says that boom was the only thing positive.
"It's gotten worse for me and I think he's against coal and this is coal country," Muncy says.
Muncy voted for Judd. He says he knew before he voted that Judd was locked up in prison but he voted for him anyway. He says he didn't think Judd would win but it was a protest against him.
"We don't need Obama," Muncy says.
And Muncy wasn't alone, more than 70,000 West Virginians voted for Judd, most in the heart of coal country. Voters say it was a resounding protest against Obama's policies when it comes to coal.
"He's against coal and if you take coal out of Logan, Logan's just going to fall apart," Odetta Frye says.
Frye was among many voters who decided to leave the presidential race blank and not vote for either candidate. But she says she believes the outcome wasn't about Judd being an inmate it was about him not being Obama.
"They're worried about what he is going to do," Frye says.
The inmate's success is the talk of the town in Logan County.
"I dont believe with his administration but I'd vote for him (Obama) before I'd vote for a convict or a republican," Esau Canterbury says. He voted for Obama but says he doesn't agree with Obama's policies on coal and understands why others chose to vote against him.
However, voters like Ronnie Browning are calling the vote how he sees it, as an embarrassment.
"Very sickening that people don't have more sense than that, they should just stay home rather then go out and do something they dint know," Browning says. "This is a black mark on WV that we'll probably never recover from especially if Obama wins."
We asked the voters if race was a motivating factor in their decision everyone said no.
Judd is scheduled for release in 2013.
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