CLEVELAND (CBSMiami/AP) – As Republican voters head to the polls to cast their ballots in the Super Tuesday GOP presidential primary, the economy and which candidate had the best chance to beat President Barack Obama were some of their main concerns.
They appeared split on which candidate could best represent their interests and those of the country at large, while some seemed less than enthusiastic about their choices in the closely watched race.
Don Ryan, 71, voted at a polling location in Anderson Township in suburban Cincinnati. Ryan, who is retired, said he voted for Mitt Romney because he thinks he has the best chance to beat Obama.
“He has less baggage than the others and more money to help him against Obama,” Ryan said.
He said he would have liked to see other candidates in the GOP field and that he is not sure Romney is really conservative, but he wants a nominee selected.
“I was ready for it to be over in November,” he said.
Josh Brooks of Columbus said he had considered voting for Romney but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won him over with his energy plan for lowering gas prices.
Nancy Beck Doak, a 52-year-old aquatics instructor voting in suburban Cincinnati, said she voted on a school issue but ignored the presidential race.
“I don’t care for any of them, Republicans or Democrats,” she said.
Voters have other choices to make in the primary. Those include an unusual match of two Democratic U.S. House members pushed together under congressional redistricting and a contested primary for the Republican nominee to oppose Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
In state races, there are 14 Democratic and 18 Republican primaries for House seats, and three Republican primaries for Senate seats. There also were some 100 local school issues are on ballots across the state.
Romney and Santorum devoted most of their campaigning to Ohio in the last days before the 10-state primary voting. Romney was looking for a decisive victory, while Santorum hoped to regain momentum. Gingrich also was hoping to pick up some delegates but was counting on a possible win in Georgia to spur a comeback.
Some Ohio voters who described themselves as independent weren’t impressed with anyone in the Republican field.
“It’s going to make me vote Democratic,” said Chuck Horning, a 47-year-old accountant and one of the earliest voters at a polling site in the Cincinnati suburb of Anderson Township, a heavily Republican area.
He said he was so disappointed that he voted only on local issues, not in the presidential primary.
“It is a painful process this year,” he said. “I don’t like the way the Republicans have gone after each other, and the Democrats aren’t any better.”
Ohioans are used to their state, with its geographic and economic diversity, being closely watched in elections. No Republican nominee has reached the White House without carrying the swing state. Obama carried the state in 2008, after the state went for George W. Bush in 2004.
Lying between Romney’s native Michigan and Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania, Ohio appeared to be a toss-up in recent polls.
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