WestChesterBuzz.com will count down the area’s top 12 stories of 2012 this month, concluding with West Chester’s most discussed topic of the year on Sunday, Dec. 30.
STORY POSTED NOV. 2, 2012
BY Cindi Andrews, Paul Kostyu and Adam Kiefaber
The presidential race returned to Ohio for the final push Friday (Nov. 2) as GOP challenger Mitt Romney held a massive rally in the Republican heartland north of Cincinnati and President Barack Obama cut a swath through central Ohio.
Romney spoke to a crowd of 30,000, according to West Chester Fire chief Tony Goller – making it the largest rally of the campaign, said Romney spokesman Chris Maloney.
“The question of the election comes down to this: Do you want more of the same or do you want real change?” Romney asked. “I promise change, and I actually have a record of achieving it.”
Both candidates are trying to make up for campaign time lost to super-storm Sandy and deliver their final arguments to voters before Tuesday’s election.
Obama, in his first Ohio trip since Sandy struck the East Coast, said in Lima on Friday afternoon that the policies of previous Republican administrations didn’t work.
“Ohio, we’ve tried our ideas and they work,” he said. “We’ve tried the other folks’ ideas. They don’t work. The eight years before I took office, we tried their ideas. What did we get? We got falling incomes, record deficits … and an economic crisis that we’ve been cleaning up after ever since.”
Ann and Mitt Romney share a moment at a rally in West Chester Nov. 2, 2012. During Romney’s speech he said that Obama asked voters to vote for revenge but “I ask the American people to vote for love of country.” Photo by Adam Kiefaber of WestChesterBuzz.com.
With less than four days before Election Day the race is too close to predict in several key states, including Ohio. The latest poll out Friday afternoon, by CNN/ORC International, shows Obama leading 50 percent to 47 percent in Ohio, well within the 3.5 percentage point margin of error.
Obama will make what’s almost certainly his last Cincinnati stop of the campaign at the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena on Sunday evening, while Romney will be in Cleveland. And the candidates will campaign right down to the wire in Ohio – both have announced events in Columbus on Monday.
Kid Rock opened the Romney event, which also included appearances by a lengthy list of top Republicans, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“This is like having the Republican National Convention come here,” said Ohio Rep. Margaret Conditt of nearby Liberty Township. “All of the speakers that we saw in Tampa are here, except for Clint Eastwood, of course.”
Romney noted that unemployment is higher than when Obama took office, although the final pre-election report, released Friday, showed 171,000 new jobs added in October. The Labor Department also revised August and September jobs numbers upward. The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent in October, from 7.8 percent in September, as more workers re-entered the labor force.
“Candidate Obama promised to do so very much, but he has fallen so very short,” Romney said. “He was going to focus on jobs, then he focused on Obamacare, which killed jobs.”
Romney said that Obama asked voters to vote for revenge but “I ask the American people to vote for love of country.”
Obama actually said, “Voting is the best revenge.”
Romney also promised to bring bipartisanship to Washington.
“If I’m elected – no, when I’m elected – president, I’m doing to work with … men and women on both sides of the aisle who care about our country,” he said.
Obama visited Hilliard, Springfield and, lastly, Lima, which hasn’t hosted a sitting Democratic president since Harry Truman in 1948. In his first trip to Ohio since super-storm Sandy devastated the East Coast and prompted both campaigns to cancel rallies, he said the nation mourns those killed in the storm.
“No matter how bad things are, we’re in this together,” Obama said. “We rise and fall as one nation. That has guided this country for 200 years and the last four years.”
He told the crowd in Hilliard that Americans need a champion in Washington. He said the middle class, the poor and small business owners need a seat at the table.
“The folks at the very top of this country don’t need another seat at the table,” the president said.
“The people who need a champion are those whose letters I read every night. Cooks, waiters and cleaning staff at a hotel, they need a champion. The auto worker … now back in the plant, he needs a champion. Those kids dreaming of becoming scientists … or even president, they need a champion in Washington. We’ve come back too far to become faint-hearted.”
The day after the election, House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester Township, delivered a statement on efforts to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Here are excerpts:
The American people … didn’t give us a mandate to do the “simple” thing.
House Speaker John Boehner fires up his hometown during a Mitt Romney that drew more than 30,000 people in West Chester just days before Election Day 2012. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
They elected us to lead.
They gave us a mandate to work together to do the best thing for our country.
We know what the best thing would be. It would be an agreement that sends the signal to our economy, and to the world, that after years of punting on the major fiscal challenges we face, 2013 is going to be different.
It would be an agreement that begins to pave the way for the long-term growth that is essential if we want to lift the cloud of debt hanging over our country.
We won’t solve the problem of our fiscal imbalance overnight, in the midst of a lame duck session of Congress.
And we certainly won’t solve it by simply raising tax rates or taking a plunge off the fiscal cliff.
What we can do is avert the cliff in a manner that serves as a down payment on – and a catalyst for – major solutions, enacted in 2013, that begin to solve the problem.
… There is an alternative to going over the fiscal cliff, in whole or in part.
It involves making real changes to the financial structure of entitlement programs, and reforming our tax code to curb special-interest loopholes and deductions.
By working together and creating a fairer, simpler, cleaner tax code, we can give our country a stronger, healthier economy.
A stronger economy means more revenue, which is what the president seeks.
Because the American people expect us to find common ground, we are willing to accept some additional revenues, via tax reform.
… To garner Republican support for new revenues, the president must be willing to reduce spending and shore up the entitlement programs that are the primary drivers of our debt.
We aren’t seeking to impose our will on the president; we’re asking him to make good on his “balanced” approach.
If Butler County voters had it their way, Mitt Romney would be the country’s next president – as more than 62 percent of the county’s voters selected Romney and 36 percent voted for President Barack Obama. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber at Romney’s rally in West Chester Nov. 2, 2012.
To let West Chester and Liberty Township residents catch up with the news that they need to know, WestChesterBuzz.com will list and link to all of last week’s top local stories every Monday.
West Chester voters wanted Romney - A total 69 percent of Butler County voters came out to the polls on Election Day, and 62 percent of those voters selected Republican candidate Mitt Romney as their choice for president. However, the state of Ohio and the majority of the nation voted to re-elected President Barack Obama. Furthermore, in a WestChesterBuzz.com exit poll taken at West Chester/Liberty Township’s largest polling location had Romney with 63 percent of the vote and Obama with 36 percent of vote.
Sherrod Brown keeps US Senate seat - Sen. Sherrod Brown won a second term to the U.S. Senate last Tuesday – fending off a hard-charging, well-funded GOP challenger and more than $30 million in withering attack ads from outside groups in one of the most expensive and closely watched match-ups in the country.
Election 2012: Butler County roundup - A Republican newcomer from West Chester Township became the newest Butler County commissioner in preliminary election results with 100 percent of the vote counted, while Sheriff Rick Jones kept his job in a landslide vote.
Liberty Township’s Sharon Kennedy ousts Brown as justice - Butler County Judge Sharon Kennedy helped Republicans continue their dominance of Ohio’s Supreme Court last Tuesday with a win over Yvette McGee Brown, the only incumbent Democrat on the court. Kennedy also made history as the first Butler County resident elected to the state’s high court in almost 150 years.
Liberty Township Trustee president Christine Matacic and Carriage Hill co-manager Randy Terry unveil the 2013 Homearama sign during a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 8, 2012. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
Carriage Hill could be Homearama’s ‘nicest’ location ever - Ground was officially broken last Thursday on what Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati executive director Dan Dressman called “one of the nicest locations” that has ever hosted its premier home showcase. Carriage Hill, which will have eight homes in this summer’s Homearama, features lakes, streams and woodlands spread throughout the 400-arce Liberty Township community.
Pair charged in possible hotel room meth lab in West Chester - Police arrested two suspects last Wednesday in connection to what they believed to be a potential meth lab in one of the rooms at the Tri-County Inn in West Chester. At around 8:30 a.m., the police received a report of a possible methamphetamine lab in a room at the local hotel. According to West Chester Police Public Affairs Officer Jeff Newman, precursors for a meth lab were found in room 417.
West Chester’s AK Steel imposes price hike - Shares of some U.S. steel manufacturers rose last Tuesday, a day after West Chester-based AK Steel Holding Corp. imposed a $50 per ton increase in spot market base prices for carbon flat-rolled steel used in such products as automobiles and appliances. AK Steel said Monday that the increase was effective immediately on new orders.
Lakota East junior quarterback Eric Eichler is swarmed by the Moeller defense in a 46-20 loss in the regional semifinals Nov. 10, 2012. Despite the loss, the Thunderhawks accomplished a lot in 2012. Photo taken by Joseph Fuqua II.
Moeller ends Thunderhawks postseason run - Northwestern commit Keith Watkins spoiled an early Lakota East lead by rushing for three second quarter touchdowns, which sparked Moeller to a 46-20 win in the regional semifinals at University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium this past Saturday. The loss ends a surprising run for Thunderhawks, who qualified for the postseason for the first time in their 16-year history. Lakota East also won its first postseason game when it defeated Springboro 45-38 in overtime the previous Saturday and snapped a seven-game losing streak to rival Lakota West in the last week of the regular season.
Kristen Bitonte named Liberty Township administrator - Finance director Kristen Bitonte is Liberty Township’s new administrator. She was unanimously selected by trustees last Tuesday – just two weeks after Dina Minneci announced she was leaving to become Indian Hill’s city manager.
West Chester resident Mike Johnson votes as fellow community members line up out the gymnasium at Endeavor Elementary School in West Chester, Ohio. Photo taken Nov. 6, 2012 by Adam Kiefaber of WestChesterBuzz.com. Lines at the school were up to an hour or two hours, depending on who you ask. In the afternoon, the wait was around 15-to-40 minutes.
Election 2012 provokes heated talks of what we can – and must – do better
Barry M. Horstman reports:
Long lines have almost become an Election Day fixture in Ohio and across the country, a sight that voters can reliably expect to see at the polls along with American flags, candidates shaking a few final hands and campaign teams making one last pitch.
Do they have to be? The answer, many experts believe, is no.
“We have to fix that,” President Barack Obama said in his victory speech early Wednesday, referring to the lengthy lines that greeted many voters at the polls.
On that and other facets governing the logistics of how Americans vote, Election 2012 offered some lessons that, if acted upon, perhaps could smooth future elections. Among the topics under discussion to ease the process are early voting hours, absentee voting, registration updates and ballot formats.
• Election 101: Bigger building + more hours = shorter lines
During last weekend’s early voting, hundreds of voters waited outside the board of elections in eastern Downtown from two to four hours to cast in-person absentee ballots.
One reason for the long lines is that, unlike recent elections when the board was open multiple weekends in the weeks leading up to Election Day, last Saturday and Sunday were the only weekend days available this year. And it took a federal lawsuit filed by the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the state Democratic Party to obtain even that over Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s opposition.
When Husted agreed – under intense nationwide pressure – to set uniform early weekday voting hours across the state, he curtailed evening hours from previous years, arguing that his plan to send absentee ballot applications to all registered Ohio voters that could be mailed back over a 35-day period eliminated the need for boards of elections to stay open later.
Many voters, though, prefer to vote in person – some because they like the experience, others because they feel more comfortable turning in their ballot at the elections board than putting it into a mailbox. (more…)
With the whole country watching, Ohioans on Tuesday helped re-elect President Barack Obama, continuing the battleground state’s decisive role in a race of unprecedented intensity.
Dave Sevat of North Avondale celebrates as President Barack Obama’s victory was announced during the Democratic election watch party at Cincy’s on 6th Street in downtown Cincinnati. Photo by Jeff Swinger.
Obama defeated Mitt Romney, with some states still to come in, once he hit the 270 electoral college votes. That total came while the race was still tight in Ohio, but the networks went ahead and called the race for Obama because the still-out Ohio counties were in urban areas that were expected to go for Obama anyway.
The president acknowledged the win at 11:19 p.m., via Twitter, saying: “We’re all in this together. That’s how we campaigned, and that’s who we are. Thank you. -bo.” He also tweeted a picture of him hugging his wife, Michelle.
He emailed supporters, telling them Tuesday’s decision was not fate.
“I want you to know that this wasn’t fate,” he wrote, “and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen.”
The Romney campaign initially refused to concede they’d lost Ohio. Gov. John Kasich said at almost midnight that he was waiting for more information before making any statements.
As of midnight, with 88 percent of Ohio precincts in, Obama had 49.6 percent to Romney’s 48.7 percent, a difference of about 50,000 votes. Obama carried Ohio with 51 percent of the vote in 2008, over U.S. Sen. John McCain.
Hamilton County, which Obama won in 2008, went for him again, 51.7 percent to 46.9 percent.
Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said four words will go down as one of the most important reasons that Romney fell short in Ohio. Those words: “Let Detroit go bankrupt.”
Obama portrayed Romney in visits to Ohio as an auto-industry killer who’s out of touch with hard-working folks. He and Vice President Joe Biden hammered hard on their bailout of the auto industry, repeating over and over that one in eight jobs in Ohio is related to making vehicles.
Redfern, asked about a Democratic opponent for Kasich in 2014, said, “We’re coming. We are coming…We’ll celebrate for a few days and then we’ll get back to work.”
Republicans were leaving their party at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus even as Treasurer Josh Mandel was conceding defeat. Worse news was coming, and they knew it. Obama won Ohio and the presidency. (more…)
House Speaker John Boehner talks with poll workers after voting Tuesday at Ronald Reagan Lodge in West Chester. Photo by Al Behrman (AP).
Charles Babington of The Associated Press reports:
President Barack Obama’s re-election, coupled with Republicans’ continued hold on the House, gives both parties a chance to rethink, and perhaps undo, the bitter partisanship that has gripped Washington for four years and frustrated Americans who see big problems going unsolved.
It won’t be easy. Both sides claim, with some justification, a mandate from the voters.
“We’ll have as much of a mandate as he will,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said shortly before the election, correctly anticipating the results.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was frostier in his post-election remarks. “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term,” McConnell said.
“Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House,” he said, “and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office.”
After three straight swing elections, Americans decided to keep Obama in the White House, leave Republicans in control of the House and let Democrats stay atop the Senate, with Republicans still able to block measures with filibusters.
There’s an irony, or self-flagellation, there. Americans express exasperation at the partisan sniping and gridlock that pushed the nation to the brink of defaulting on its loans last year, and which might trigger new crises soon. The narrowness of Obama’s win accurately reflects the nation’s nearly 50-50 partisan divide. It’s a split that will make progress on any major issues difficult for at least another two years, and probably longer.
Every newly elected president claims a mandate, and Obama can point to the roughly $1 billion that Mitt Romney and his GOP allies spent trying to oust him. Yet, for all its tactical brilliance, Obama’s campaign was built on relatively modest ideas. It focused on helping the middle class, which is a coalition of identity, not ideology.
It may have been a status quo election. But if the White House and congressional Republicans simply stand their ground on taxes and other issues, they run risks — not just for the nation’s well-being, but also for the legacies of a barrier-breaking president and a Republican Party that has tapped a deep vein of conservative, almost libertarian emotion. (more…)
A Republican newcomer from West Chester Township became the newest Butler County commissioner in preliminary election results with 100 percent of the vote counted, while Sheriff Rick Jones kept his job in a landslide vote.
T.C. Rogers. The Enquirer/ Joseph Fuqua II.
And a countywide issue to provide about half of the $30 million budget to help abused and neglected kids got the nod, 61 percent to 39 percent.
A much needed 7.05-mill additional levy for the debt-ridden Monroe Schools passed 55 percent to 45 percent. The levy, proposed by the state-appointed Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, raises $2.5 million annually. The district is in fiscal emergency and under state control. The district is suing its former treasurer over the financial mess.
In the commission race, T.C. Rogers, a home builder and real estate agent, led the three-way contest through the night against Democrat Jodi Billerman of Liberty Township and Libertarian Daryl Olthaus of Milford Township. Rogers had 61 percent of the vote, while Billerman and Olthaus had 32 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
None of the candidates have held political office before.
All were campaigning on controlling spending and T.C. Rogers promised to create jobs. Butler County faces $1.7 million in cuts in its 2013 budget and has already trimmed about $900,000 to get through the end of this year.
The winner replaces longtime commissioner Chuck Furmon, who was ousted in the primary election in a three-way race with Rogers and state Rep. Courtney Combs. Combs lost his statehouse seat in January to term limits. Rogers beat out Combs by 13 votes in a recount.
A race for another commission seat held by Republican Don Dixon was uncontested.
In the sheriff’s race, Jones, a Republican, was handily beating independent challenger Dale Richter with 81 percent of the vote.
For Richter, a Springboro police officer, it was the third time he went up against Jones since 2004 and was walloped at the ballot box.
Also, locally, Republican Margaret Conditt comfortably won the 52nd District State Representative seat against Branden Rudie (Democrat) and Bob Coogan (Libertarian). Conditt had 66 percent of the vote, while Rudie and Coogan had 27 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
Supporters of President Barack Obama reach to shake his hand after he spoke at a rally at Fifth Third Arena on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. Photo by Enquirer Sunday Nov. 4, 2012.
Update: The Associated Press has called the presidential election for Presidenti Barack Obama.
Story: President Barack Obama stepped to the brink of re-election Tuesday night, capturing battleground Ohio from Mitt Romney and edging ahead in other pivotal states despite a weak economy and high unemployment that crimped the middle class dreams of millions.
At home in Chicago, the president all but claimed victory. “This happened because of you. Thank you” he tweeted to supporters.
Romney was in Massachusetts after a long and grueling bid for the presidency. He led in the national popular vote with 41 million votes, or 50 percent. Obama had 40 million, or 49 percent, with 59 percent of the precincts tallied.
But Obama led in the competition for electoral votes, where it mattered most.
His triumph in Ohio as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire, two other battlegrounds, gave him 265 electoral votes of the 270 needed for victory, Romney had 200.
The election emerged as a choice between two very different visions of government — whether it occupies a major, front-row place in American lives or is in the background as a less-obtrusive facilitator for private enterprise and entrepreneurship.
The economy was rated the top issue by about 60 percent of voters surveyed as they left their polling places. But more said former President George W. Bush bore responsibility for current circumstances than Obama did after nearly four years in office.
About 4 in 10 said the economy is on the mend, but more than that said it was stagnant or getting worse more than four years after the near-collapse of 2008. The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and a group of television networks.
Democrats got off to a quick start in their bid to renew their Senate majority, capturing seats in Indiana and Massachusetts now in Republican hands.
In Maine, independent former Gov. Angus King was elected to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe. He has not yet said which party he will side with, but Republicans attacked him in television advertising during the race, and Democrats rushed to his cause. (more…)
12:25 a.m. - 8405 of 9550 precincts reporting (88 percent) in Ohio, Obama has 2,389,891 votes and Romney has 2,377,364 votes.
11:59 p.m. - Despite it being called by many, 7854 of 9550 Precincts reporting in Ohio, President Barack Obama is behind with 2,275,618 (49 percent) to Republican candidate Mitt Romney 2,295,003 (49 percent).
In Butler County, 69 percent of the vote is in. 20 percent of that vote is from early voters. In this county, Romney (62 percent) leads Obama (36 percent). Mandel (59 percent) has the advantage over Brown (37 percent), Margaret Conditt (66 percent) leads Brenden Rudie (27 percent) and Robert Coogan (7 percent) for the State House Rep 52nd District, T.C. Rogers (61 percent) leads Jodi Billerman (32 percent) and Daryl Olthaus (7 percent) in the race for Butler County Commissioner.
In Hamilton County, just less than 59 percent of the vote is in, 19 percent of which are early voters. Obama maintains (50 percent) his lead against Romney (49 percent), Brown (51 percent) ahead of Mandel (45 percent).
11:19 p.m. - CBS News and NBC (according to Enquirer) just called the Election President Barack Obama will have four more years.
11:17 p.m. - Fox News just called the Election President Barack Obama will have four more years.
11:14 p.m. - Fox News just called Ohio with President Barack Obama taking Ohio against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The results right now have Obama with 50 percent of the vote and Romney with 48 percent with 70 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.
10:53 p.m. - In Ohio, President Barack Obama (50 percent) is leading Republican candidate Mitt Romney (48 percent) with 65 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.
10:30 p.m. - In Ohio, President Barack Obama (51 percent) is leading Republican candidate Mitt Romney (48 percent) with 50 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.
In Butler County, 49 percent of the vote is in. 20 percent of that vote is from early voters. In this county, Romney (61 percent) leads Obama (37 percent). Mandel (58 percent) has the advantage over Brown (38 percent), Margaret Conditt (65 percent) leads Brenden Rudie (29 percent) and Robert Coogan (6 percent) for the State House Rep 52nd District, T.C. Rogers (60 percent) leads Jodi Billerman (33 percent) and Daryl Olthaus (7 percent) in the race for Butler County Commissioner.
In Hamilton County, almost 31 percent of the vote is in, 19 percent of which are early voters. Obama maintains (55 percent) his lead against Romney (44 percent), Brown (56 percent) ahead of Mandel (41 percent).
In Butler County, 35 percent of the vote is in. 20 percent of that vote is from early voters. In this county, Romney (60 percent) leads Obama (39 percent). Mandel (57 percent) has the advantage over Brown (39 percent), Margaret Conditt (64 percent) leads Brenden Rudie (30 percent) and Robert Coogan (6 percent) for the State House Rep 52nd District, T.C. Rogers (59 percent) leads Jodi Billerman (35 percent) and Daryl Olthaus (6 percent) in the race for Butler County Commissioner.
In Hamilton County, almost 29 percent of the vote is in, 19 percent of which are early voters. Obama maintains (56 percent) his lead against Romney (43 percent), Brown (56 percent) ahead of Mandel (40 percent).
8 p.m. - Results from Butler County’s absentee and early voters are in. That is almost 20 percent of the vote, which were cast by county residents before Election Day.
Of that vote, 47,585 of 239,993 registered voters, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (58 percent) is leading President Barack Obama (41 percent).
Furthermore, Josh Mandel (55 percent) leads Sherrod Brown (41 percent) for U.S. Senator, Margaret Conditt (62 percent) leads Benden Rudie (33 percent) and Robert Coogan (5 percent) for the State House Rep 52nd District, T.C. Rogers (57 percent) leads Jodi Billerman (38 percent) and Daryl Olthaus (5 percent) in the race for Butler County Commissioner.
In Ohio, so far, with 91 of 9,550 precincts reporting (1 percent) Obama has 59 percent of the vote and Romney has 40 percent, while Brown has 60 percent of the vote and Mandel has 36 percent.
With 19 percent of votes reported in Hamilton County – all early votes – Obama is up nearly 57 percent compared to Gov. Mitt Romney’s 42 percent. Third party candidates make up the remaining roughly 1 percent. That’s 60,774 votes for Obama and 45,327 for Romney.
EARLIER ON ELECTION DAY
Voter turnout has been strong in West Chester, according to Butler County Commission candidate T.C. Rogers and polling manager at Endeavor Elementary School Bob Tanis.
Despite the polls not opening for an hour, voters actually lined up at 5:30 a.m. at Endeavor Elementary in West Chester. Later that morning, the line grew and voters waited up to an hour to vote, according to Tanis. One voter said the wait was more than two hours, so she left and came back at 1 p.m. She then waited 30 minutes to cast her ballot.
West Chester resident Rick Human, who has lived in the same precinct for 20 years, said that this is the first time that he has ever had to wait in line to vote. Once he realized there was a line, Human exited the polling place to talk with Rogers, who has been visiting polling places throughout the county. Human did say that there is no line that would keep him from voting.
After turning in their ballots many West Chester residents were sensitive to participate in an exit poll. Of the 88 voters who voted at Endeavor and agreed to participate in the poll, 55 said they voted for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (63.2 percent), 32 voted for President Barack Obama (36.3 percent) and one voted for Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
West Chester resident John Gorman votes at Endeavor Elementary School in West Chester, Ohio. Photo taken Nov. 6, 2012 by Adam Kiefaber of WestChesterBuzz.com. Lines at the school were up to an hour or two hours, depending on who you ask. In the afternoon, the wait was around 15-to-40 minutes.
One local resident, John Gorman, said he was voting for Obama despite calling himself a Republican. Gorman believes the Obama administration deserves a chance to finish what it has started.
In 2008, Gorman said he switched from voting for Republican candidate John McCain to Obama at the last minute. He admitted, at the time, he was “hoping” that it was going to be the right choice. This time, he said he is more certain then hopeful that he is voting for the right guy.
Mike Johnson of West Chester disagrees. He voted for Romney because he feels that there needs to be a change in leadership. He is concerned about the economy and thinks Obama is headed down the wrong path.
Johnson also said that Obamacare impacts what he does professionally, working in the medical device industry. He said Obama’s healthcare plan makes it more difficult to manufacture the medical devices due to high taxes and more regulations. Johnson refused to identify where he worked.
Johnson, although serious about voting for Romney, is not as passionate as some of the candidates’ (both Obama and Romney) supporters.
“I know if my candidate losses our country will survive,” Johnson said. “We are too strong to fail.”
Nearby in line, Joyce Koenig was passionately supporting Obama. She believes “Bush screwed it up” before Obama took office and that the current President deserves “a chance.”
Then there is West Chester’s Srinivas Rao, who went into vote today despite not knowing which presidential candidate to select. After leaving the polls, Rao said that he decided to vote for Romney because he thought it was time for a change. Like Gorman in 2008, Rao is hoping he made the right choice.
In all, a total of 4,208 voters share Endeavor Elementary has their polling location for the 2012 Election, making it the third most active polling place in Butler County.
Meanwhile, Garfield Middle School in Hamilton, potentially the second most active polling location in Butler County with six precincts and a total 4,723 registered voters, didn’t experience any lines in the morning or afternoon.
Garfield’s polling manager Wes Thirkield said voter turnout had been steady, but not one of the 937 voters who passed through by 3 p.m. had to wait more than a couple of minutes. Thirkield, who is an experienced Election Day volunteer in Hamilton, said he was worried about the crowd that may turn up after work.
Back in West Chester, House Speaker John Boehner told select media members after he voted that he was confident that voter turnout would propel Romney to victory in Ohio.
“I’ve never seen our team more energized from one end of the state to the other, and I’m feeling good about it,” said Boehner, who lives in the Wetherington Country Club community in West Chester. “I think Mitt Romney is going to win Ohio. Especially if all our team gets out and votes.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer has spread out its staff throughout Southwest Ohio to cover the 2012 Election. WestChesterBuzz.com will be sharing opinions of the voters and photos from West Chester and Liberty Township polls this afternoon. Then when the polls close at 7:30 p.m., the Buzz will post live election results from Butler County.
What we know right now, is that the Butler County Board of Elections had a little under 20 percent of its ballots returned before Election Day started. As of last evening, a total of 46,986 ballots had been returned via absentee or early voters. That is out of 239,878 registered voters in the county.
Obviously, this presidential election is much bigger than Butler County. To follow the extensive coverage of this Election Day by The Enquirer, visit Cincinnati.com and follow #ohel on Twitter.