The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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November 7, 2012

In end, it comes down to voters

Locals weigh in on election day

MERCER COUNTY — It’s morning in America and regardless of the official results of the presidential election, about half the country will be mourning a loss, while the other half rejoices in victory.

Pennsylvania went for President Obama, according to early results Tuesday, but the national outcome was still undecided as The Herald went to press last night.

In Mercer County, voters turned out on a sunny yet chilly day that proved to be a celebration of democracy at its best, although some lamented having to make a choice between Democratic President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

“I don’t feel good about my choice,” said Joyce Doyle, 58, of South Pymatuning Township. “I voted Democratic, but I don’t like either candidate.”

A personal care attendant, Doyle said she supported President Obama at her daughter’s urging. She’s not politically active, but has generally supported Republican candidates in recent elections; she said she voted for John McCain and George W. Bush.

She said disagrees with the Obama on moral issues like abortion rights; Doyle said she’s staunchly anti-abortion.

Her daughter’s a teacher and Doyle said she thinks Obama has a better handle on education and dealing with the underclass, or as Doyle put it: “I feel like he’s more for poor people.”

Another South Py resident Bonnie Pearson, 71, said she supported Mitt Romney and was politicking for him outside the firehall there because of Romney’s stance on social issues like abortion and his opposition to gay marriage.

Pearson and her husband Jim are also fed up with the way Obama’s handled the economy, she said.

They once were Democrats but went right with the rise of Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Although beloved in some circles, Clinton’s reputation as a womanizer sullied any support Pearson may have had for the Democrats, she said.

She spent much of her life caring for her disabled son, who passed away a couple years ago, and said she’s against “free birth control, free abortions,” she said.

Don and Normal Small are South Py residents who also support Romney.

“It’s hard to get into it,” the octogenarians said when asked to talk about the issues.

Don is 88 and Norma is 85. He retired from Dean Dairy Products and she worked for “Mr. Clepper” at the Sharon nursing home.

“We just don’t like what Obama has done the last four years,” Don Small said.

In Jefferson Township, T.R. and Jerrie Macmurdo also supported Romney.

A self-employed trucker, T.R., 50, said the last four years have “pretty much devastated small business people.”

“It’s just not good,” Jerrie, 53, said.

Four years ago, truck tires were $240 a piece. Now they’re $525 each, T.R. said.

And semis have “18 wheels,” Jerrie was quick to point out.

“In the past four years our expenses have doubled and tripled and our work has been cut in half,” T.R. said.

His earnings are “down about $50,000 this year,” T.R. Macmurdo said.

“I think the country is very divided,” said Domingo Bermudez of Hermitage.

He noted the barrage of negative campaign ads and that people seem to be more bipartisan than ever and less willing to compromise.

“That’s not good,” Bermudez said. “Nobody wants to give in. There’s no cooperation at all. It’s either one way or the other, all the way left or all the way right. They’ve got to come into the center and work from there.”

Sharon resident Kerry Gwinn said the cycle’s been strange because the media shows more contention than ever but she said she’s seen fewer signs and bumper stickers this time around.

She said most people she knows had their minds made up about the candidates long ago, so she’s not sure who the attack ads were trying to sway.

Matt Peterson of Sharon, said social media played into the feuding sides of the election more than in the past.

Gwinn said she thought people talked politics less on a face-to-face basis because sites like Facebook and Twitter make it “safer to mouth off.”

Gwinn said she voted for Obama, as she did last election.

“I believe he’s a man of integrity. I don’t know who Mitt Romney is. I just can’t trust him,” Gwinn said.

She said she believes Obama’s done the best he could in his first term and cited his health care plan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Peterson, who also cast his ballot for Obama, said some of Obama’s goals were blocked by opponents in Washington

Peterson said he felt Obama’s stances were more aligned with Peterson’s blue-collar background.

“He saved Detroit, I feel,” Peterson said.

Romney’s changed his viewpoint on the issues and will “say whatever to get elected,” Peterson said.

Gwinn noted Romney said “bizarre” things about gun control and single mothers during the debates and said she disagreed with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s stances on women’s rights.

Carolyn Oppenheimer, a volunteer with the Mercer County Republican Committee and Grove City resident, was going on her fifth hour late Tuesday afternoon encouraging people to vote for Romney as she stood outside Grove City Christian Academy, 301 N. Madison Ave.

“We have had an immense turnout for this precinct,” said Oppenheimer, 51, who homeschools her three children.

There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this presidential election and people like Oppenheimer voting for Romney are voting to protect babies and stand for what “true marriage” is, she said.

“I feel this is a moral vote,” she said, adding Obama has angered the Christian community because of his views on those and other issues.

William and Cheryl Caldwell, registered Democrats heading into Grove City Christian Academy, said they’re concerned with health care, the economy and social security and feel Obama is on the right path to making sure those issues are improved upon.

“He’s got the most positive attitude. We need to move forward,” said Caldwell, 60, an employee of Grove City borough’s public works department.

Mrs. Caldwell, 56, who works in the kitchen at Arby’s, Pine Township, agreed, saying Romney’s wealth means he can’t relate to the average American because so many are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

“We can’t go back to ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’” Caldwell said of the household right-wingers like Romney support – the wife stays home to raise the family while the husband works.

“It doesn’t work that way anymore,” Mrs. Caldwell said.

Regardless of political stripe, turnout was strong in Mercer County, and in some places, like the Shenango Township building, people waited in line outside the door to cast their vote.

There, Sandra Ryser, 74, was among those who spent some time in line at about 4 p.m. to vote.

A Democrat, Ryser said she supported the president “because I’m afraid of Romney.”

“I don’t like his attitude,” Ryser said.

She’s a retiree and has worked several jobs including as a label designer for the H.J. Heinz Co.

“I don’t like the idea of changing Medicare,” Ryser said.


Herald staff writers Tom Davidson, Courtney L. Saylor and Sandy Scarmack and Allied News Staff Writer Monica Pryts contributed to this report.

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