Although Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were neck and neck in Ohio well into the night Tuesday, the race wasn't as close in Washington County - at least on the part of the ballot where both candidates appeared.
In voting for statewide delegates to the Republican National Convention, Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, received 3,453 votes, nearly 43 percent of the total cast. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, garnered 2,649 votes, about 33 percent.
Glen Newman, founder of the Marietta OH 9-12 Project, said he thinks the reason Santorum found success in Washington County is the same reason he's endorsed Santorum.
Marietta resident Jasmine Sparks, 4, waits as her grandparents, Vickie, center, and Charles Sparks cast their ballots Tuesday at the junior fair building at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
"I think he did so well because of his very conservative, family-oriented message," Newman said.
But Santorum didn't have enough delegates to have his name on the ballot for delegates from the 6th Congressional District. Romney was the top vote-getter there, with 3,131 votes, nearly 44 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich followed with 2,031.
More than 1,000 county voters did not pick a candidate in that section, suggesting some Santorum supporters didn't cast a vote. Others may have thrown their support to Romney, Gingrich, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas or one of two candidates that have dropped out of the race, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Final, unofficial results, Washington County
Delegates at large
Rick Santorum - 3,453 (42.62 percent)
Mitt Romney - 2,649 (32.7 percent)
Newt Gingrich - 1,052 (12.99 percent)
Ron Paul - 812 (10.02 percent)
Rick Perry - 72 (0.89 percent)
Jon Huntsman - 63 (0.78 percent)
Delegates, 6th Congressional District
Mitt Romney - 3,131 (43.9 percent)
Newt Gingrich - 2,031 (28.48 percent)
Ron Paul - 1,434 (20.11 percent)
Rick Perry - 304 (4.26 percent)
Jon Huntsman - 232 (3.25 percent)
Total ballots cast - 11,370 (27.2 percent)
Republican ballots cast - 8,261.
Democratic ballots cast - 2,676.
Nonpartisan ballots cast - 425.
Libertarian ballots cast - 5.
Green Party ballots cast - 3.
Source: Washington County Board of Elections.
Marietta resident Robyn Young, 47, said she liked things about the other candidates but she was supporting Romney.
"I think he has a better chance of beating Obama," she said. "It's not so much a moral issue; it's how you can fix what's been done."
Lower Salem resident Steve Hodge, 61, cast his ballot for Santorum around 9 a.m. then traveled with his wife to the Washington County Fairgrounds, where voters in five precincts cast their ballots, to hold up signs for several hours supporting their chosen candidate.
"Rick Santorum is not an insider as far as the political apparatus goes," Hodge said. "He's a person who has convictions and has proved by his past performance as a senator that he follows up on his convictions."
Hodge said he doesn't consider himself a Democrat or Republican, but he voted in the GOP primary to support Santorum.
Waterford resident Jeff McCutcheon, 23, was enthusiastic in his support of Paul, who finished fourth in the county.
"He has an outstanding record. He's never been a quote-unquote flip-flopper," McCutcheon said. "He deals with the core issues, the real problems."
McCutcheon said the view that Romney and Santorum are the frontrunners didn't discourage him from backing Paul. He blamed the mainstream media and Republican Party for pushing Paul aside after early success.
"It just became less about the substance really ... a lot of bickering, a lot of repetition about those candidates the GOP obviously was pulling for," he said.
Whatever the outcome of the nominating process, several voters said they would be supporting the Republican nominee, whoever it is.
"Usually it's the best man, the best man or woman," Young said. "But this time (Obama) needs out."
Young said she didn't vote for Obama in 2008 but was willing to give him a chance.
"I'll support a president if they're going to get in there and do a good job, but I don't feel he has," she said.
Newman was more blunt.
"We have the single-most destructive president in the history of this nation in office right now and the No. 1 mission is to remove Mr. Obama from the White House," he said.
Republicans accounted for more than 72 percent of the ballots cast in Washington County Tuesday. In addition to the presidential race, there were contested GOP primaries for U.S. senator, 6th District Congressman, 4th District appellate court judge, 94th District House representative and county commissioner.
Just 2,676 Democrats cast ballots. Their contested primaries included 6th District Congressman, state Supreme Court justice, 4th District appellate judge and 95th District House representative.
There were 425 non-partisan ballots cast in the county, along with five Libertarian and three for the Green Party.
Countywide voter turnout was a little over 27 percent.