MARTINSBURG, W. Va. (WUSA) -- No one was expecting President Obama to carry West Virginia in November. But almost losing the West Virginia Democratic primary to a convicted felon has to be embarrassing.
A protest vote saw Keith Judd, federal inmate number 11593-051, take almost 41 percent of the Democratic primary votes against the sitting President.
Even in the more liberal Eastern Panhandle, some voters subscribe to widely discredited rumors about the President.
"I know he's a Muslim," said voter Charlie Teal here in Martinsburg. "The Islamic religion is not just anti-Christ, it's anti-freedom for the American people.... He's a dictator." The President is a Christian.
Judd's incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas, serving 210 months for extortion. He says he's run for President in every election since 19-94.
Even in more prosperous Berkeley County, more than one thousand people voted for Judd. Somehow the inmate came up with the $2500 filing fee to run for President in West Virginia.
Berkeley County Chief Elections Deputy Bonnie Woodfall says she received a letter in January from Judd "It just says the current economic situation in the US and the global economy is a game of monopoly that should have ended a long time ago." The letter goes on and on with hundreds of closely hand-written phone numbers but no names.
President Obama lost West Virginia to John McCain by 13 points. To Hillary Clinton by 41 points. And one in five voters admitted race played a role in their decision.
Martinsburg Mayor George Karos, a Democrat, says West Virginia's disillusionment with the President has more to do with his policies on things like global warming. Don't ask him how he'll vote in the general election. Like a lot of Democratic politicians in W Va, he's not saying. "You know my theory is a closed mouth catches no flies."
Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com