With 53% of the vote in, Barack Obama leads Keith Judd in the WV Primary by 61% to 39%.  This matters for a few reasons.  First, Keith Judd is a convicted felon.  His campaign and organization in WV is non-existent.  Judd resides in a federal prison in Texas, and has no public platform.  In spite of all of this, 39% of WV DEMOCRATS (and Independents who vote in the Democratic Primary) are supporting Judd over Barack Obama.  This is not a good sign if you happen to be the incumbant POTUS, but can’t rally more of your party to your cause when you’re up against a convicted felon.

Second, this should theoretically result in Judd being awarded a delegate/delegates to the Democratic National Convention.  In theory, Judd only needed 15% of the vote, he’s nearing almost three times that minimum.  I’m not sure how such delegates will be appointed, but Judd is in fact entitled to them under the current party rules.

Third, while WV was never going to vote for Obama, and we all knew this, let’s keep in mind that West Virginians have much in common with the voting bloc in Southern Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.  Those are states, quite frankly, that are in play in this election.  And to be honest, when local media picks up on the fact that your not-so-distant neighbors consider a felon as a legitimate contender against the incumbant president, that doesn’t send a good message to them.  WV, while a more conservative state, in many ways represents a blue collar voting bloc that Obama needs in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Right now, he may not get it.

I know some people may think that it’s only backwards middle-of-nowhere counties that Judd has traction, but not so fast.  In 2008 Barack Obama only took 7 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.  One of those was Marion County, an incredibly Democratic county.  With all 76 of Marion County’s precincts in, Barack Obama has 5,080 votes, while Keith Judd has 3,267, that’s 39%.  And that’s among Democrats (and Independents voting Democratic).  That means in a county he won in 2008, Barack Obama has lost nearly 40% of his party.  In Monongalia County, which Obama also won in 2008, Judd has 31% of the vote with 71 of 71 precincts reporting.  Again, these are counties Barack Obama WON in 2008, yet he’s losing 31-39% of his own party to a FELON.

There certainly is a party that needs to rally around it’s candidate, but in West Virginia that party is not the Republicans.

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