Twelve states cast votes for presidential nominees on March 1, also known as Super Tuesday, the biggest single-day delegate haul of the nomination contests. Republicans are voting in 11 states, with 595 delegates at stake. Democrats are casting ballots in 11 states, too, plus American Samoa, with 865 delegates up for grabs.
Here’s a look at what some voters had to say as they went to the polls:
Gloria Pryor-Lewis and her daughter Greta Lewis went to a Memphis, Tennessee, church to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Pryor-Lewis, a 63-year-old dentist, said she admires Clinton for being a strong woman.
“Of course, my daughter calls her arrogant,” she said, getting a laugh out of her 31-year-old daughter, who works as a receptionist in her dental office.
“I do like a strong woman like my mother,” said Greta Lewis, who praised Clinton for her support of minorities.
“She has been the one who has stepped out to at least try to identify with most of the minorities, whether they’re women, black, Asian, Hispanic,” Greta Lewis said. “She’s the one that has taken the most time to talk about it, to have something to say about it and be firm about it, and know who the leader of the KKK is.”
Jacob Lawrence-Simon, a software developer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, started his day as a Bernie Sanders volunteer at 4:30 a.m., hanging notices on doors to remind voters to caucus.
Lawrence-Simon, 30, said he supports Sanders because of his views on gay rights, a higher minimum wage and his “desire to not go to war.”
“I want politicians to try to solve an issue without bombs first … and I feel like Bernie Sanders better represents that mentality than Hillary Clinton, who seems to be like a bomb-and-fix kind of candidate,” Lawrence-Simon said.
Dormetra Henry, a 50-year-old clerical worker from Houston, said for her it was a toss-up between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. But in the end, her faith helped her decide to vote for Cruz.
“We’re deeply religious, and I believe Ted Cruz, he has a heart for the Lord. I believe that he is a Christian,” said Henry, who is nondenominational but was previously Catholic.
Henry said that while she had her doubts about Trump’s Christian values, she still admires his strong personality.
“He says whatever he wants to say, and he doesn’t really care about any repercussions,” she said. “That can be good and bad. You can’t go into the presidential office and tell all these other countries, ‘We don’t care what you do,’ and they bomb us. So you have to be careful.”
Retired Marine Corps. Gen. Bill Weise joined about a dozen people waiting patiently in line at the Greenspring precinct in Fairfax County, which traditionally has the highest turnout in Virginia. The precinct is made up entirely of voters from the sprawling Greenspring retirement community.
The 86-year-old Weise says seven months of agonizing over who he’d vote for came down to the final 10 seconds before he filled in the bubble next to Ted Cruz’s name.
Ben Carson was his favorite candidate, but he concluded Carson wasn’t viable. In sorting through the other GOP candidates, Weise felt Cruz would make better decisions than Donald Trump.
“I’ve read Cruz’s autobiography,” he said. “He’s not perfect. But show me somebody who is. …The ideal candidate does not exist.”
Jan Kearns, a special education teacher originally from Canada, recently became a U.S. citizen and was voting in her first presidential election. Experience was key in her decision to support Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.
Kearns admires Clinton’s stance on equal pay for women and says she knows how government works. She agreed with a lot of Sanders’ positions but questioned whether he could succeed as president.
“He’s a little too earthy, crunchy for the way Washington works,” she said after voting in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Jim Stephens, a 72-year-old retired pastor from Anchorage, Alaska, said he supported Marco Rubio.
“I believe of the three main ones, he probably has the best chance of winning against the Democratic person that’s running,” said Stephens, who now works part-time in a hardware store. He and his second wife have five daughters and 13 grandchildren.
Stephens said John Kasich would be his second choice, but he doesn’t have much faith the Ohio governor could win the general election.
He also had thoughts on how Donald Trump is conducting himself, comparing him to a schoolyard bully.
“I just think that doesn’t show the level of stature for a presidential person,” Stephens said.
Tyler Murphy, a 26-year-old Boston resident who works as a project manager for a construction company, voted for Donald Trump even though he thinks the billionaire businessman is “undeniably wrong on a lot of things.”
For better or worse, he said, the controversial candidate is the “wake-up call” the country needs.
“Ultimately, if we have to elect someone who is borderline crazy to get people to understand what’s going on, then that’s what we have to do,” Murphy said.
An independent, he voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and Barack Obama in 2008 and said he’s donated to both parties in the past.
Murphy said that if Trump had not become such a viable candidate, he would likely have voted for Hillary Clinton.
“I just don’t think she’s going to be the person to shake people out of their seats,” he said. “She’s not what the country needs right now.”
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Bob Salsberg and Phillip Marcelo in Boston; Juan Lozano in Houston; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; Matthew Barakat in Falls Church, Virginia; Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska; and Thomas Peipert in Denver.
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