Idaho Official: Democratic Primary Will Be Three-Way Contest; Also Pointless

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Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said on April 16 that the state’s Democratic primary, set for May 27, will be a three-person race.  In addition to better-known candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Keith Judd has also qualified to participate, Ysursa said, even though he currently is a Texas resident.

Specifically, he is residing in the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution, where he was sent after being convicted of making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999.  He would likely have difficulty serving as President if elected, as he is required to live at the BFCI until 2013.  Although I suppose he could pardon himself.

Image4021495g Ysursa said that Judd, shown here in a prison photo either wearing a long ponytail or being attacked by a ferret, qualified for the ballot by sending in the required form and paying the $1,000 fee.  Judd also managed to qualify for a write-in slot in Kentucky, Indiana, Florida and California, but only Idaho is actually putting his name on the ballot.  According to Ysursa, his hands are tied because Judd filled out the right form and paid the fee.  "We did some checking," he claimed, and "there was nothing legally to keep him off [the ballot]," as far as they could tell.  (Note to self: in-state residence, lack of criminal record, physical freedom, not legal requirements to run for office in Idaho.)

Democrats are a little suspicious as to why Ysursa, who is a Republican, has let Judd on the Democratic primary ballot, given that he previously disqualified a Democratic candidate for state senate on the grounds that the candidate, though apparently not a prisoner, was registered to vote in the wrong district.  (Note to self: registration requirements strictly enforced in Idaho.)  "We have this really good candidate who can’t get on the ballot," said a state Democratic spokesman, "and this yahoo prisoner in Texas who coughs up a thousand bucks can."

Ysursa did not respond to that directly, instead sticking to the story that though his office "did some checking," they simply "got conned."  He also pointed out that Judd’s presence on the ballot will not make any difference anyway, since Idaho’s delegates are chosen in caucuses, not in the primary.

"The good thing," he said, "is the Democratic presidential primary has absolutely no legal significance."

Link: CBS News