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Local voters assess GOP field

Ariz., Mich. grab current headlines

February 27, 2012
By Sam Shawver - The Marietta Times ( , The Marietta Times

A week from now, on Super Tuesday, Ohio voters will play a role in determining which of the two front-running Republican presidential candidates wins their party's nomination and the right to challenge President Barack Obama in the November general election.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania have taken the lead over their fellow GOP challengers, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Marietta residents had varied feelings about the two lead GOP candidates Sunday afternoon.

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Melissa Birge, 35, of Fourth Street said Romney will be her choice.

"We'll be going to the polls next Tuesday, and I think this family will be pulling for Romney," she said. "It just seems like he has some good values. We have kids, and that's important to us."

Birge noted polls on Sunday, heading into Tuesday's primary in Michigan, were showing the contest there between Santorum and Romney would be very close.

Fact Box

Election alerts

Republican primaries are tuesday in Arizona and Michigan.

Ohio's primary election is March 6-Super Tuesday; Washington County's polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Nine other states' primaries are on Super Tuesday, including Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

An Associated Press article on Sunday noted Romney, a Michigan native, would have to win in that state to remain a viable contender for the nomination. And if Romney also carries the day in Arizona's primary election Tuesday, it would give him the clear lead going into Super Tuesday which includes 10 state primaries.

Kenwood Avenue resident Arlene Johnson, 87, thinks Santorum will beat Romney in Ohio next Tuesday.

"But then Obama will beat Santorum in the fall general election," she added, noting Obama was handed a lot on his plate when he took office four years ago.

"He can't fix everything overnight," Johnson said.

A Rasmussen Report survey earlier this month indicated Ohioans' support for Obama was slightly ahead of Romney and dead even with Santorum.

Both leading Republican candidates campaigned in Ohio two weeks ago on their way to Arizona and Michigan.

Ron Haffert, 56, of Wells Avenue said he couldn't pick a GOP winner at this time.

"But I think whoever wins will become cannon fodder for the Democrats," he added. "I voted for Obama in the last election, but if the Republicans would nominate a really solid candidate, I'd vote for him."

Haffert said he didn't know that much about Santorum, but he was a little upset with Romney after the former governor told an interviewer that none of his millions of dollars were invested overseas.

Haffert said the reporter then showed Romney evidence that some of his money was in foreign markets.

"If I had $250 million, I think I would know where my money was," Haffert said.

Last week in a letter Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine threw his support fully behind Santorum.

"He is a strong fiscal conservative, committed to growing our economy and creating and maintaining jobs. He supports a balanced federal budget. And, he was a leader in the U.S. Senate in trying to deal with the spending entitlement problem. I know that as President, this will be a top priority for him," DeWine wrote.

The months of campaigning and volatile Republican debates have taken their toll on some.

"I'm not voting for anyone in the primary," said Janet Mendenhall, 61, of Channel Lane.

"The candidates fight too much-and one is just as bad as the other," she added. "I'll wait until November to vote."



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