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Like nation, Ashe County voter reaction varied on presidential election

Originally published: Nov. 7, 2012
Last modified: Nov. 7, 2012

Adam Orr

Election night in Ashe County was marked by one word: confidence.

Though incumbent President Barack Obama secured another four years in America's highest office sometime around midnight eastern time, local Democrats and Republicans both started the night confident their candidates, Obama and Mitt Romney respectively, would emerge victorious.

“Right now, I feel good with the way the night is turning out,” said the chairman of the Ashe County Republican John Wheeler. “I think Cullie (Tarleton) and Jonathan (Jordan) is going to be tight, but we feel pretty good about that as well.”

Local Democrats — also confident — felt Republicans would maintain control of much of North Carolina, although Obama would retain control of the presidency.

“I really feel like the president will win,” said the chairman of the Ashe County Democratic Party, Melba Jones, shortly before 9 p.m. on election night. “I also think we'll know before the night is over. I don't think it'll drag on like it did in 2000.”

Jones prediction was nearly spot on, as the presidential contest was all but decided by midnight as Obama captured the hotly contested battleground state of Ohio and its 18 electoral votes. As of Wednesday morning, Obama had an (unofficial) electoral college lead of 303-206 with Florida still too close to call at presstime.

Romney secured 51 percent (2,272,506) of North Carolina's voters support to 48 percent (2,175,670) for Obama.

Like much of the country, local opinions varied between Obama and Mitt Romney.

Fleetwood voter Shannon Miller voted for Obama, “because you can't pull a country out of the mess that Bush left us in, in four years.”

Miller also said she believes America's wealthy should pay the same tax rate as the country's middle class, and capital gains and interest should also be taxed.

Fleetwood voter Talara Parrish voted for Romney because she felt his real-world experience would benefit him in the White House.

“(Romney) has proven success in taking difficult situation and made these into successful outcomes,” said Parrish. “He has worked in the real world and knows firsthand what business obstacles are (that) hinder expansion and growth, limits employment and investment.”

Jefferson resident Matt McNeil voted for Obama and said, “Not because I like his policies, but because I feel Romney (has) not been honest about a lot of things. I think Romney and Ryan's plans are not clear and would do more harm than good.”

Crumpler voter James Wyatt said he voted for Romney and said, “I believe the principles and policies that Obama has set forth are not the way our country needs to head ... and shoving health care down peoples' throats was not the right way to go.”

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.