NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Voters who cast ballots Tuesday or during Tennessee’s 14-day early voting period talk about their selections and the general election.
The top race on the ticket, the contest for president between President Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, helped send Tennessee voters to the polls even though the race wasn’t close in this state.
— Collierville financial adviser Kevin Baltier cast his ballot Tuesday for Romney, saying Obama’s strategy to levy more taxes on high-income people would stifle job creation. Baltier said Romney’s economic plan would create an environment where people “would not be looked down upon for their success.”
— University of Tennessee English professor Nancy Henry, 47, said in Knoxville that the issues that drove her vote for Obama weren’t economic. “Environmental policy is very important to me. Education is really important to me,” Henry said. “Yes, the economy, but frankly, I live in a pretty prosperous town in a pretty prosperous part of town, so I don’t feel like I have been worse off than I was four years ago.”
— “The less government the better, and the least authoritarian government the better,” said James Waller, 77, an engineer from Monteagle who voted for Romney in Altamont on the first day of early voting. “I don’t mind them taxing me, but if they quit spending more than they take in, I’d be pleased, so we wouldn’t be going into debt to the Chinese. It’s kind of like borrowing from a loan shark to play dice.”
— “Let’s face it if he’s in there a little while longer, we’re going to be in so deep we won’t be able to get out of the hole,” Marianne Waller, a 71-year-old farm manager from Monteagle, said of Obama on the first day of early voting. She cast her vote for Romney.
— “I think we’re going in the right direction,” said early voter Jimmy Smith, a 62-year-old insurance agent from Murfreesboro who cast his ballot for Obama. “It takes a long time to turn a big ship around. He was handed an economy that was sinking when he came into office, and I think it will turn around.”
— “Real estate drives the economy when people are buying and selling homes. This disaster of the bailout of Wall Street has taken its toll, and I don’t know how much good that did, but I’m just looking for some change,” said real estate agent Bill Wilson, 46, of Murfreesboro. He voted for Romney. “Right now it’s a great time to borrow money, but there’s not a lot of Americans who can because of credit, or lack of jobs, or whatever. So we’ve got to do something different, and that’s the reason I voted for Mitt Romney.”
— “He’s done a lot for middle class Americans,” Josephine Wright said of Obama, her presidential choice. The 55-year-old manager of Nashville’s Napier Community Center said she thinks Obama has done an “awesome job” so far, but it will take four more years to straighten out the fiscal mess left by the previous administration.
— “He really impressed me in the debates. Especially with his attacking of Barack in the first one, that really impressed me. A lot of people doubted him,” Graham Robertson, 22, a technician for a disaster response company who lives in Nashville, said Tuesday of his presidential pick, Romney.
— “It was a tough decision. It was a mixed bag. I don’t always agree with Obama. I feel like he is for bigger government or government is always the solution and I don’t really agree with that. That’s what it came down to for me,” said Josh Carl, 29, a graduate student in Nashville who voted for Romney on Tuesday.
— “I am not going to say that he didn’t make mistakes because he was a new president. But overall I think he did a good job and I do believe the economy is heading in the right direction,” said Albert Perry, a 46-year-old landscaper in Madison, in explaining his vote for Obama.
— “Barack Obama in 2008, and I have never wavered,” Micki Fox of Knoxville, whose been an administrator at the College of Law at the University of Tennessee for 40 years, said after voting Tuesday.
The most competitive congressional race in Tennessee was in the 4th District where freshman U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Republican, was challenged by Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart. Revelations from DesJarlais’ 2001 divorce, including a transcript where he urged his mistress to get an abortion, roiled the final month of the campaign.
— “I don’t think Stewart had a chance before that popped, but I don’t think he has much chance now,” early voter Jim Rust, a 67-year-old college psychology professor from Readyville said when he voted for Stewart on Oct. 26. “Small, but he’s got a chance. It’s better than he had before. I think several people noticed. Some people don’t pay any attention, but it’s going to help. It’s a longshot, but it’s worth the trouble.”
— “If we took the Second Amendment out of it and took away Obama’s support, yeah I would really question my vote for DesJarlais, but unfortunately all of it’s there, and you’ve just got to make a choice between two people that you may not be the happiest with,” said tax consultant Mike Baldwin, 60 who cast his ballot on Oct. 26.
Freshman U.S. Sen. Bob Corker faced an easy re-election campaign after the Democratic Party disavowed Mark Clayton for his anti-gay views.
— “It was easy to vote for Bob Corker again because I have been very satisfied with his first term of service in the Senate, said Russell Mang, a 43-year-old high school government teacher in Clarksville who voted early. “I like his business background and how sharp he is on his financial and economic policies. He has got it together and knows what our country needs.”
— “I am not a fan of Mr. Corker, I do not think he has done a good job and I will not vote for him,” said Stanley McCormick, a 54-year-old disabled pastor from Montgomery County who voted early for Clayton. “He is responsible for the much gridlock in Congress and has refused to consider anything the president wants to put forward. That has restricted this country from moving forward.”
— Paul Murphy, 47 of Knoxville voted for Corker on Tuesday, saying, “He’s doing a great job. I wish he’d run for president.”
Republicans focused on taking two-thirds of the seats in the state Senate and pushed hard in District 22, where incumbent Democrat Sen. Tim Barnes was challenged by Republican Mark Green.
— “He (Tim Barnes) has done a lot of good things and I am very satisfied with his efforts in his first term,” said 54-year-old lawyer Mike Williamson, who backed Barnes four years ago. Williamson voted early in Clarksville. “He has worked hard to help our economy and our education system, but he has done especially well in veterans and military affairs by helping military members and their families get crucial benefits.”
— “I think it is his (Mark Green’s) turn to have a shot,” said early voter Loretta Young, a 71-year-old grandmother, housekeeper and retired military member who voted for Barnes in 2008. “He has been in the military and in business. He has had the ups and downs and has been to war. His military background has prepared him to be more well-rounded and ready for a big job.”