West Virginia is still blushing that Keith Judd, an inmate incarcerated in a low-security federal prison Texarkana, won forty percent of the vote in the state’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday.
The Charleston Daily Mail‘s Ry Rivard reported Friday that West Virginia Republicans were criticizing the state’s Democratic Party for letting Judd on the ballot. Former West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland took to Facebook to voice her outrage: “Look, here’s what you do. When a convicted felon files to run for president of the U.S., you know by statute he cannot serve. So, you deny his petition and make him sue you to get on the ballot.”
But current West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat, fired back, saying that Ireland almost let Judd on the ballot in 2008. “Ultimately, Judd was not allowed on the ballot, but not because he was a felon or in prison. Instead, Ireland’s office didn’t let him on the ballot because he failed to send a check to cover the $2,500 filing fee on time,” Rivard wrote.
Paul Darst wrote at State Journal, a West Virginia business paper, that the state’s Democratic party officials hope rules will preclude Judd from sending delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
“It is not likely that he will earn any delegates to the national convention,” Derek Scarboro, executive director of the state Democratic party, said in a statement. “No one filed to run as a national convention delegate to support him for president and he may not be eligible to serve anyways, since he is currently an inmate in a federal prison.”
While many outlets have reported that Judd, 53, is serving time in Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution, he is in fact incarcerated in Texarkana, a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed Friday. He is slated for release in 2013.
Inevitably, Judd’s “candidacy” has spawned a fake Twitter account, as the Beaumont Enterprise‘s Dan Wallach pointed out.