Inmate for president says it's all about the economy
May 14th, 2012
04:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Inmate for president says it's all about the economy

(CNN) - No balloons. No banners. No cheering crowd. No need for a victory speech to a throng of adoring and loyal supporters.

As he sat in a prison cell in Texas, Keith Judd, inmate # 11593-051, was winning 40% of the vote in the West Virginia Democratic primary last week amid whatever fanfare one could receive in such a place.

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Judd, whose name appeared opposite incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama, was pleasantly surprised.

"It's about time,' he said. "The message is out there."

In a phone interview with CNN from prison, Judd explained his message is all about the economy and what he calls basic economic problems.

"The poor and middle class are being controlled by the wealthy. It's like Monopoly," he said. "When one person gets all the money, the game is over."

It could be argued that Judd's game for the presidency is already over. He's serving a 210-month prison sentence with an expected release date of June 2013. An earlier release date is a possibility, but even with that, Judd's next stop would be a half-way house in Midland, Texas, not the White House.

Judd is not a novice to presidential aspirations. A 2008 attempt to get his name on the ballot in several states failed so he tried again this presidential cycle. He said his political movement represents the people who are tired of lying politicians, and people who want to see their country run by the people.

His recent showing however is not without questions, which have emerged not because of his message, but because he's a 53-year-old incarcerated man who wants to run for president.

Is he a Republican plant? Is he a Democratic pawn? Is he being bank-rolled? Judd is unconcerned.

"If someone in the Republican Party is doing something, they haven't told me," he said.

When asked where the $2,500 filing fee came from, Judd's answer was muddy at best. He claimed he didn't know, said it didn't come from him and that maybe somebody involved with the "movement" supplied it. The West Virginia secretary of state's office said three separate money orders accompanied Judd's filing application. The money orders came from Citibank and the return address on the envelope was Leopard Drive, Texarkana, Texas. That's the address of the federal prison. Still, Judd claimed he didn't know the money's origin.

Judd's political offense is putting some West Virginia state officials on defense, especially the secretary of state. Late last week, days after the primary, Natalie Tennant held a news conference to answer the onslaught of questions her office had been fielding on how the name of a convicted felon got on the ballot. Tennant told reporters she understood the emotions and passions Judd's name has stirred and then simply went on to explain that not allowing Judd to appear would have been a violation of the law.

"It's not the first time a felon has been on the West Virginia ballot for president," she said. "From 1992 to 2004 Lyndon LaRouche was on each of the presidential year ballots despite being a convicted felon. In 1996 he even received about 40,000 votes against Bill Clinton."

When CNN's Jim Acosta traveled to Bolivar, West Virginia, last week, he was not hard-pressed to find people to talk about the primary day. Many said their vote for Judd was not an endorsement of him, but rather an act of protest against the current administration and its policies.

Judd doesn't see it that way: "I think some people really voted for me, not just against Obama"

Invoking another cultural icon, Judd drew a comparison between the economy and the television show Gilligan's Island.

"Thurston Howell was a millionaire on that island, but his money didn't do him any good when he was stranded," Judd said. "Work has value because you can trade it for something of value."

Judd, who is not allowed access to the internet while in prison, may never know the real force of his movement. He admits he has not gotten any feedback following his West Virginia showing.

"The mail is kind of slow here," he said.

Also see:

Ron Paul to end active campaigning

RNC, Team Romney roll out debt attack on Obama

Leading progressive group attacks Romney over women's issues

Obama headlines two high dollar fundraisers in NYC

Filed under: President Obama • West Virginia
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Heck... he couldn't do any worse than Obama has.

    May 14, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. cali girl

    Ok, a felon has no rights to vote, but a serving time felon can run for office?

    May 14, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Why is this even a story. Regardless of how many votes this guy received. The President ended up with 60% of the votes.

    May 14, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Blindersoff

    This is what America has become? The bible is unfolding right before our vary eyes . . . a convicted criminal is given a 40% vote over the sitting president and a chance to run for The President of these United States of America. Jesus or Barabbas? Crucify Barack, who is working hard for the middle class and poor, and let the good for nothing jail bird go free"The crowd scream out "Let the president's blood be on our hands and our children hand" Unbelievable?

    May 14, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    cali girl – Ok, a felon has no rights to vote, but a serving time felon can run for office?
    Granted it is a little bit backwards as Democrats usually END up being convicted felons, and starting out as unconvicted felons.

    May 14, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Really, CNN?

    The stench of Karl Rove dirty tricks surrounds this story. It sure would be interesting if CNN dug around and found out who was making deposits into this dude's prison account.

    May 14, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Obama no job zone.

    Come see how Obama has destroyed our economy. You would vote for him as well.

    May 14, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    And, of course, not a single mention from CNN or the rest fo the MSM that WEST VIRGINIA ALLOWS VOTERS TO CHANGE PARTY AFFILIATION IN THE BOOTH. It is a semi-closed primary system...and yet nobody mentions it and, predictably, not a single "journalist" has bothered to ask the very simple question of how that may have skewed votes in the Dem primary. Any answers CNN or is your intellectual curiosity and honesty on par with Dubya's?

    May 14, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Of course it's about the economy...we all know that but you can't fix many problems that went on for ten years in three to four years..and with NO .help from the other party.....As far as West Virginia voting for a prisoner...that says more about the intellegence of the voters than it does anything else. They threw away their vote either through anger or idiocy or both!!!!!To the person who calls this "four years of failure" you eiither need to learn to read or stop watching Faux news!!!

    May 14, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Remember he's in Texas.

    May 14, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Nija

    Pontius Pilate says "Pls pls do not make the mistake that I made".

    May 14, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Republicans Still Living in the 50's

    Where did this inbred meth head get the money to get on the ballot? WV shame on you for your ignorance.

    May 14, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Awaiting Moderation

    Not surprised.

    Romney was arrested for misconduct in 1981 and he is winning the GOP nomination.

    May 14, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. The REAL Truth...

    Wow.. and he claimed he wasn't running as a Repug? Seems like some of their amnesiac revisionist version of history and memory loss rubbed off on him too...

    May 14, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. Martha in CF

    My opinion on West Virginia has forever changed for the worse. This guy is an inmate-he can't even vote!!!!!!!!!! Or maybe in WV he can,,,,,

    May 14, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Is that why he's doing time ? The Economy , that will stand up in court , not !

    May 14, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. kayla

    america has gone to the dogs

    May 14, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. gg

    republicans vote for criminals, nothing new-bush and darth won twice

    May 14, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. fred ca

    Just think...if he had helped kill hundreds of Mexican citizens he would a top aide of obama and holder.

    May 14, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. Dan

    This guy wins 40% of the votes. PRICELESS!!!1 Guess 40% of the voters decided to vote for the lesser of the two criminals.

    May 14, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. Mike in Texas

    cali girl – Ok, a felon has no rights to vote, but a serving time felon can run for office?
    Granted it is a little bit backwards as Democrats usually END up being convicted felons, and starting out as unconvicted felons.

    I didn't know Tom Delay and Randy "Duke" Cunningham were Democrats? Both sides do corrupt things. Get over yourself and take off the blinders.

    May 14, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    A convicted felon can't vote, but he can get on the ballot for President? This yahoo doesn't know who paid his $2500 filling fee? What's he in for – and shouldn't the victims of his crime be getting that $2500 instead of the Secretary of State for West Virginia?

    What a state – talk about making yourself a laughing stock!

    May 14, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Where are all the Republicans whining on about how much state money was wasted by letting an incarcerated convicted felon be involved in a presidential primary? Given their preoccupation with fraud and waste, you'd think the Repubs would be having hissy fits all over Fox about it ...

    May 14, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. Mike in Texas

    Obama no job zone.

    Come see how Obama has destroyed our economy. You would vote for him as well.
    Please explain how Obama destroyed our economy. I take it by your post you would rather have the economy we had in January 2009 over the current one. I guess Obama is responsible for everything that happened in the 40 years leading up to the economic meltdown.

    I expect specifics in your answer, not typical talking points that say nothing.

    May 14, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. Sydnium S. Washington

    Well, talk about "jail politics".

    May 14, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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