CINCINNATI — Jeff Dickson, a 2010 UW graduate who majored in business and who now lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio, wrote me this evening with some impressions of his experience voting in what is probably the most important state in today’s spate of caucuses and primaries.
Dickson leans pretty conservative (he once wrote for the UW Daily as one of two resident more right-leaning political columnists;
I was the opinion editor at the time, as an undergraduate). But he remains moderate, too, on many issues.
Here are his thoughts, more or less raw:
“At my polling location, very early this morning in a large baptist church, there were plenty of people buzzing. We’ve been bombarded the last couple weeks with attack ads from both Romney and Santorum. Despite Romney’s tour through the area this weekend (including a “Ribs with Mitt” dinner at a local landmark, The Montgomery Inn), the area seems to be leaning more toward Santorum. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, since the area is heavily socially conservative (hence voting in a large Baptist church). …
“The current returns show the race as too close to call, but I think you’re going to see a surprisingly strong victory for Mitt. Although the Santorum and Paul voters are the most active and avid, there is a very distinct feeling here that the bigger picture is the pressing issue — people want a candidate that can realistically beat Barack Obama. Everyone I’ve talked to says that ‘it’s all about the economy, stupid.’ Regardless of how they feel about continuous social issues, everyone in this area seems to be voting with their wallets, jobs, and the fiscal health of the nation in mind. Although they are not as vocal, the largely silent moderate majority (the same people who helped Obama to victory in ’08) are very motivated and have seemed made it a point to come to the ballot box for this crucial primary race.
“Ultimately, everyone seems to understand the true importance of this race in Ohio… as the saying goes: so goes Ohio, so goes the nation. Whoever takes the Buckeye state will very likely get the GOP nod. If we hope to get a new face in the White House, the people of Ohio have a responsibility larger than most to nominate a viable candidate that can win this essential swing state again in November.
“I cast my vote this morning for Mitt. Although, with the ghosts of Christmas pasts dotting the ballot (Perry, Cain, etc.), the thought definitely flashed through my mind (albeit briefly) to vote with my first love, Jon Huntsman.
“When all the votes are counted tonight, I think you’ll see that ‘moderate’ is not a four letter word. The people who are most eager and anxious to replace Obama (at least here in the Midwest) are not the hard-core GOP loyalists… it’s the independent middle who put him there in the first place. They have been disappointed with his tenure thus far and are anxious for a candidate that represents the realistic issues of the present — the economy, the economy, the economy. There is a subtle but strong quasi-grass-roots movement that I think will speak volumes by enthusiastically nominating Romney by the end of Super Tuesday.”