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Posted on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:40 a.m.

Republican voters in Washtenaw County like Romney's business background, Michigan ties

By Ryan J. Stanton

Voters throughout Washtenaw County are slowly but surely trickling to the polls today to vote in Michigan's presidential primary.

And Michigan native Mitt Romney appears to be the most popular among those who spoke with outside polling locations after voting.

"He's a Michigan guy. That's very important, I think, for Michiganders, because he understands the conditions here," said Tom Paup, who voted shortly after 8 a.m. at the Pittsfield Township Community Center, 701 W. Ellsworth Road.

"He's a guy who has risen on his own merits," Paup added. "He's been very successful in business and toughed a governorship job in a very liberal state and performed well. He's the kind of guy we need to run the country because he knows how to get it done."

Polls opened at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Voters heading to the polls today must request the ballot of the party whose primary they would like to vote in. There will be a public record showing which ballot they requested.

Democrats will see only one candidate on the ballot — Barack Obama — while Republicans have nearly a dozen names to choose from.


Mitt Romney appears at an event in Ann Arbor last year.

Melanie Maxwell |

That includes Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Bachmann, Cain, Huntsman and Perry are no longer running but withdrew from the race after the state's deadline to get off the ballot.

Romney, son of a three-term Michigan governor and former auto executive, had been heavily favored to win his home state, but recent polls show him neck and neck with Santorum.

Both candidates have spent time campaigning in Michigan, though they've mostly stayed away from Ann Arbor except to hit the local market with ads and robo calls.

Pittsfield Township resident Chuck Stevens and his wife Alice spent this morning passing out Romney literature and bumper stickers at the polling location where Paup voted. There were multiple Romney signs on site but no evidence of any support for Santorum.

Stevens said he's heard a mostly pro-Romney response from voters coming in and out of the polling station.

"I think he's the right person," said Stevens, wearing a Romney hat. "He has experience in all aspects of government. It's really a good deal to get a businessman in there, especially a man from Michigan. Our man is Mr. Romney and I think he'll do good in Michigan."

Santorum had the support of at least one of the voters who cast their ballots at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District building in Scio Township early this morning. But that was from a Democrat who's hoping Santorum goes on to lose against Obama.

"I think the president is doing a good job overall, given what he inherited, so he's still my frontrunner, but today I'm supporting Rick Santorum," said Scio Township resident Lester Mitchell. "At this point, I'm siding with Obama for the general election, but I'll always keep an open ear to the other side, and I think that other side should be Rick Santorum."

It's been reported that a number of Democrats are expected to vote today for Santorum out of fear that Romney — considered the more moderate and more electable of the two — stands a better chance in November.

Scio Township resident John Zamora said he was going back and forth between Santorum and Romney before he voted today. He wouldn't say who he went with in the end, but he said he'll be glad if either of the two can beat Obama in November.

"I want somebody who's committed to their values and can turn the economy around and is consistent," he said. "That's not Obama. I didn't vote for him the first time either."

Romney, who was expected to be at his Michigan campaign headquarters in Livonia this morning, is holding an election night party in Novi.

Santorum was expected to appear at various poll locations near Grand Rapids today before holding his election night party at the Amway Grand Hotel.

Ed Golembiewski, the county's new elections director, said the county and its local clerks are well prepared today and he expects the primary will go smoothly.

"It's difficult to predict today's turnout due to unique political climate and the fact that the last time a Republican presidential primary was held while a Democratic president was seated was in 1996," he said, adding his best estimate is an 18-23 percent turnout.

"Given the Republican presidential primary is the only contested race, traffic will most likely be concentrated in areas we typically see higher Republican turnout, particularly the townships," he said. "The only other item on today's ballot is a special primary in county commissioner District 7, located within Pittsfield Township, but those candidates are running unopposed."

Ann Arbor City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry said absentee ballot requests in the city were "really low." As of 7 a.m., less than 2,000 absentee ballots had been returned, she said.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Rugeirn Drienborough

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

@Alan Goldsmith: Hey, the headline correctly predicted the outcome. Sample size, shmample size, go with your gut!


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

Just Curious, you wrote..."I will certainly think twice about voting for another Democrat after seeing what they are gleefully doing in this Primary. The left is turning nastier by the day. I guess they really must be worried. I voted for Obama the first time but after seeing this sheeplike stunt, I'm so glad I won't this year." Does that extend to anyone who would pull such a "sheeplike stunt"? If so, you might want to rethink support for Mitt... "Here's what Mitt Romney said on January 26, 2012: In my state of Massachusetts, you could register as an independent and go vote in which -- either primary happens to be very interesting. And any chance I got to vote against Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, I took. And here's what Romney said on February 18, 2007: When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I'd vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for the Republican." Does this mean that the "right was nastier" when they pulled the same "sheeplike stunt"?


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

don't get me wrong, in this case I am happy as I am a Romney supporter but, so much for unbiased press! This article is more like a campaign ad for Romney. There is a reason the polls do not release who is leading until polls are closed, wonder how many votes this "ad" won mitt. Thats ok, "NObama 2012", go Romney!!

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

More accurate headline: "Two Republican voters in Washtenaw County like Romney's business background, Michigan ties"


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

I can't trust Romney. He is campaigning like Snyder, not saying what his real agenda is until he gets elected. Then tells us that he is making tough choices for us by going after the Unions, womens rights, and pushing the emergency manager legislation. He raised my taxes by at least $1200 for next year and I have learned my lesson. If they speak in general platitudes, they have an agenda and it may be bad for me. Plus Romneys budget plan is a joke. To make it work, he will have to cut the national budget by 37% across the board, including Social Security and Medicare. Talk about driving us into a depression, that will do it.

Rork Kuick

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

"appears to be the most popular" sounded like data should be involved, otherwise you can say anything you want. The author apparently claims to be a reporter.

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

So two Romney voters, one guy who wouldn't tell you who he voted for and one Dem for Santorum are heard from? Great headline. Lol.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Romney is the only one I will vote for. Low life Santorum is doing his normal liberal agenda - destroy and conquer. Santourm is someone I never would vote for and never want to see in politics. Check out Santourms record in PA. It is not good. His voting was very liberal. The people of PA do not like the man and have been very ocal about it on many posts. This is why I like Romney Romney gets my vote. He is the only one with real executive experience and he will make an excellent President. It will be nice to have someone finally in the Presidency that can make real decisions and implement them. Free market, limited government, lower taxes, abiding by the Constitution speaks to me. So does having a president who can lead, implement effective strategies, think out of the box, work with both sides of the aisle and has not been a career politician. Romney will be great for our country.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 4 p.m.

Democrats crossing over to support Sanitorium Rick Santorum over Let Detroit and Michigan go Bankrupt Romney. Have to love it. Obama 2012!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

I will certainly think twice about voting for another Democrat after seeing what they are gleefully doing in this Primary. The left is turning nastier by the day. I guess they really must be worried. I voted for Obama the first time but after seeing this sheeplike stunt, I'm so glad I won't this year.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Yes - All Hail Emperor Obama! (puke)


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

GM and Chrysler let themselves go bankrupt. The Japanese car market is coming back and GM and Chrysler will take major hit and will not be as profitable as they now are. You wil lwant Romney to work with them in the future if they need to reorganize. Also I never agains want my tax dollars to be used to bail out any company. We are also waiting for GM and Chrysler to pay us back the money they owe us