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West Virginia voter voices

A selection of voter reactions as West Virginians went to the polls Tuesday.

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Charlotte Nichols brought her 14-year-old granddaughter to a crowded polling place in Kanawha County, keeping the teenager's future in mind when she voted for Democratic President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney.

"She needs things to go to college," said Nichols, 77, of Cross Lanes. "She wants to be a doctor and if she doesn't have the things for education that Obama is willing to give and help with Pell grants and things, it would be tough on her mom because her daddy died."

Despite being a registered Democrat, Nichols voted for Republican John Raese in his bid to unseat Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. She questioned the party loyalty of Manchin, who has campaigned as an independent voice for the state and has disagreed with Obama over such issues as coal, federal spending and the national debt.

"He should have gone to the Democratic convention," Nichols said, referring to Manchin skipping the party's national convention in September. "That's one thing I'm mad about. He's a Republican - he doesn't know what he is. I've always voted for Joe Manchin. I'll never vote for him again."

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Barbara Bolyard has been without power for the past cold week, relying on a wood- and coal-fired stove for heat and eating meals served by the Red Cross at a fire station twice a day. On Tuesday, the 50-year-old Newburg resident bundled her three adult children into the car, telling them, "It's your right; do it."

The Democrat was most interested in the governor's race, in which he backed Republican Bill Maloney over Democratic incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin.

"Tomblin has been flying on Manchin's coattails, and I do not like that," she said. "Everything was set in motion for him. I did not see anything that he did on his own. He just followed through with Manchin's stuff."

"If he'd have showed me something that he had the initiative to do on his own, he'd have had my vote," she said, adding that she did vote for Manchin.

In the presidential race, Bolyard voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

"I would like to see us get on the right foot," she said. "But I don't think either a Republican or a Democrat would do that."

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Randy Monroe, a 45-year-old state trooper from Arthurdale, typically votes Republican. He didn't want to say how he voted in the state races because he's a state employee but he voted Republican in the presidential race.

Romney "shares common views with mine, and I think the country needs to head in a different direction than it has been the past four years," he said. "The main thing is the deficit I'm worried about. It seems like it's gone in a negative direction the last four years. It's time to get it back on track."

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Registered Democrat Rachel Moses, who works in children's educational programs at the state Culture Center in Charleston, said she was mainly interested in voting for Obama but also backed Maloney for governor.

"Republican governors tend to give state workers raises, and I'm a state worker," said Moses, 31, of Cross Lanes.

Moses said she wasn't "totally crazy" about Obama's job performance, including his views on health care, but she agreed with his policies "way more than Romney."

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Freda McDaniel of Newburg said the presidential race was too important to skip, despite losing power a week ago at her rural Preston County home that's been running on a generator since.

On Tuesday the 53-year-old McDaniel went to the Bolyard Funeral Home, a temporary polling place because hers was without power, to cast her vote for Romney.

"I think he's going to do more than Obama, and I want Obama out of there," she said. "The things he's supposed to be doing, he's not doing."

McDaniel voted for Obama four years ago but is disappointed he hasn't fixed the economy or kept other promises, she said.

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Rick Farley, 76, of Cross Lanes, and his wife of 55 years, Jeanie Farley, finished each other's sentences as they talked about their concerns for the economy, their disgust with the strip mining technique known as mountaintop removal and their vote for Obama.

"I wanted to vote for Mr. Obama because I think Romney is the end of the line. We couldn't do any worse," Jeanie Farley said. "He's going to give all the tax breaks to all the big people and we're going to be left behind."

Rick Farley added he felt Romney was "for the millionaires, I think. The more we read, the more we went Obama."

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Janet Adams said she voted mostly Republican because "of their conservative stands on most things. And I just think Mr. Obama is just the biggest joke there ever was."

In the Senate race, the 60-year-old Newburg resident backed Raese, saying Manchin "has kind of betrayed the pro-life movement, and I am very pro-life."

In the governor's race, she ignored an avalanche of advertising and backed Maloney.

"I know well ahead of time who I'm voting for and what the issues are," she said, "and none of that affects me - none of the advertising, nothing."

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Eugene Matlick is a registered Republican who says he typically votes for more Democrats. But not this year; he voted for Romney

Obama, the 70-year-old Newburg resident said, hasn't done enough to earn his vote. "He's spent a lot of money and we're still in a rut."

Matlick voted for Raese in the Senate race. He said he wasn't swayed by the advertising, but his complaint about the incumbent echoed Raese's advertising claim that Manchin has changed since he got to Washington.

"Manchin just hasn't done the things he said he's going to do," Matlick said. "Like the coal in this state. We have got to have the coal. It's too many jobs. He was all for that, and then he went down there, and now he's with Obama."


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