Running against only Ron Paul and voter apathy on Tuesday, Mitt Romney won three more primaries in his quest for 1,144 delegates: Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Romney secured 64.7 percent of the vote in Indiana while Ron Paul grabbed 15.6 percent. Incredibly, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, both of whom dropped out of the race, combined for nearly 20 percent. Something similar happened in North Carolina, where Romney took down 65.7 percent to Paul’s 11.1 percent, Santorum’s 10.4 percent, and Newt Gingrich’s 7.6 percent. More than 5 percent of North Carolinians voted for “No Preference.”
The more cynical yet humorous story Tuesday comes from West Virginia, where a man serving a seventeen-and-a-half-year sentence in federal prison for extortion won 40.6 percent of the vote and at least five counties in the state’s Democratic primary. Fifty-three-year-old Keith Russell Judd of the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas, made a similar appearance on Idaho’s Democratic primary ballot in 2008. Judd attempted to get on fourteen ballots during that cycle by submitting a notarized form and paying the required $1,000 fee, but managed only to get onto Idaho’s. The only non-felon in West Virginia’s 2012 Democratic primary, Barack Obama, won with 59.4 percent of the vote.
The Judd protest votes are ultimately inconsequential for anyone, except for Judd, who’s scheduled to be released in 2013 and apparently has a political career in every state or county where constituents loathe the alternative.