Without any local issues on the ballot, much of the focus of residents of West Chester and Liberty townships is on the Republican presidential primary.
With Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in a virtual dead heat, according to recent state polls, the 66 convention delegates in Ohio could significantly impact the final result of the Republican presidential race.
“This is probably the most important election in my lifetime,” said Mark Hendryx, 48, of Liberty Township. “We have to change things otherwise my kids will not enjoy the prosperity that I was able to enjoy.”
To make a change, Republicans must decide who deserves the nomination and it appears that local voters have mixed opinions of the candidates. When thinking on who to vote for, Hendryx said that he really struggled with his decision. Eventually, he decided to vote for Romney.
“I have struggled with this election more than I have with any other before,” Hendryx said. “I don’t think Newt (Gingrich) is electable, so it comes down to Santorum or Romney and it has been a real struggle, but I really feel that the more electable person right now is Romney.”
Fellow Liberty Township resident Mike Gardner also decided to vote for Romney – citing the electability factor after once supporting Gingrich. Both Hendryx and Gardner also mentioned Romney’s business experience as a strength.
- Early GOP voters in West Chester speak out on the candidates
- West Chester and Liberty Township Super Tuesday voting guide
- Track results and find polling locations on Butler County Board Elections website
- Santorum wins Tea Party straw poll; Romney gains ground
- Cincinnati.com Election Page – full coverage of all races
“I would rather have Newt, but unfortunately the general population will look at his past history and may not consider him because of that,” Gardner said. “Mitt Romney doesn’t have any past history that may cause him to lose votes.”
When it comes to losing votes in Ohio, Romney’s main competition appears to be Santorum, who won last night’s Liberty Township Tea Party straw poll with 42 percent of the vote (Romney finished second with 32 percent).
“I come from a pretty conservative background and Santorum is the one I believe who will best keep up with conservative beliefs,” said Catherine Brink of Liberty Township.
“I think if Mitt Romney were to win, he could still do a good job. I just know that his background was once not as conservative as he is going for now. I am not very confident in that uncertainty, not as confident as I am for Rick Santorum.”
Opinions of interviewed Republican voters today in Liberty Township shared the concerns of Gingrich’s electability over Barack Obama. However, in the end, many decided to stick with Gingrich.
“They have been throwing up so much dirty laundry that I really think that it is at the advantage of the democrats. I think they have been so worried about one another that they forgot who the real enemy is,” said Bill Walker of Liberty Township. “Each of the candidates has good strong points…in the end, I went with Newt, but whoever gets the nomination is going to get my vote opposed to the president.”