COMMENT By Bob Weaver

The national media has had 24/7 coverage that a large number of West Virginians would rather see a convicted felon elected president of the United States than re-elect incumbent President Barack Obama.

Keith Judd, who is currently serving a 17 year prison sentence for extortion, received 41 percent of the vote in West Virginia's Democratic primary for president, about 72,000 votes to Obama's 106,000.

David Hedges, publisher of Spencer Newspapers, said "West Virginia, once again, finds itself in a familiar place - in the cross hairs of late-night comedians."

In Calhoun County, Obama received 527 votes to Judd's 453, with Judd leading the ballot in 10 of the 55 counties, mostly the coal producing counties.

In Gilmer County, Obama received 643 votes, losing out to Judd's 690.

News analysts say the backlash is over the Obama administrations environmental push against coal.

Publisher Hedges indicated in an editorial that the coal backlash should not affect the vote in the state's northern gas producing counties, with all benefiting from the transition from coal to natural gas.

Hedges recalled that in West Virginia and most of the south, not many years ago, the state clung to the laws that "whites and coloreds" could not attend the same school.

While it was declared moot by the US Supreme Court years earlier, it remained part of the WV Constitution until it was removed by a constitutional amendment in 1994.

While it passed by fifty some percent, 42% of West Virginians voted to allow segregation to stand.

Hedges said, "Voters are not...comfortable with an urban black man with a Muslim sounding name..."

Jake Glance, from the West Virginia Secretary of State's office, said Judd filed the proper paperwork correctly, had it notarized and paid the $2,500 ballot-access filing fee.

"No one challenged his candidacy," said Glance.

"In the end, the inmate got 40 percent of the vote...which has sent the joke writers howling about our state once more," said Hedges.

Now, the Secretary of States office is looking at how a convicted felon can run for such an office.

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