WASHINGTON — Twelve states in all cast votes for presidential nominees on March 1, also known as Super Tuesday, the biggest single-day delegate haul of the nomination contests. Republicans are voting in 11 states, with 595 delegates at stake. Democrats are casting ballots in 11 states, too, plus American Samoa, with 865 delegates up for grabs.
Here’s a look at what some voters had to say as they went to the polls Tuesday:
Jan Kearns, a special education teacher originally from Canada, recently became a U.S. citizen and was voting in her first presidential election. Experience was a key factor in her decision to support Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.
Kearns admires Clinton’s stance on equal pay for women and says she knows how government works. She agreed with a lot of Sanders’ positions but questioned whether he could succeed as president.
“He’s a little too earthy, crunchy for the way Washington works,” she said after voting in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Dormetra Henry, a 50-year-old clerical worker from Houston, said for her it was a toss-up between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump but that in the end, it was her faith that helped her decide to vote for Cruz.
“We’re deeply religious and I believe Ted Cruz, he has a heart for the Lord. I believe that he is a Christian,” said Henry, who is nondenominational but was previously Catholic.
Henry said while she had her doubts about Trump’s Christian values, she still admires his strong personality.
“He says whatever he wants to say, and he doesn’t really care about any repercussions,” she said. “That can be good and bad. You can’t go into the presidential office and tell all these other countries, ‘We don’t care what you do,’ and they bomb us. So you have to be careful.”
Gloria Pryor-Lewis and her daughter Greta Lewis went to Central Christian Church in Memphis to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Pryor-Lewis, a 63-year-old dentist, said she admires Clinton for being a “strong woman.”
“Of course, my daughter calls her arrogant,” she said, getting a laugh out of her 31-year-old daughter, who works as a receptionist in her dental office.
“I do like a strong woman like my mother,” said Greta Lewis, who praised Clinton for her support of minorities.
“She has been the one who has stepped out to at least try to identify with most of the minorities, whether they’re women, black, Asian, Hispanic,” Greta Lewis said. “She’s the one that has taken the most time to talk about it, to have something to say about it and be firm about it, and know who the leader of the KKK is.”
Twin sisters Vivien and Gillian Gattie, both retired, 72 years old and originally from England, were less than thrilled at their options as they showed up to cast ballots at Boston City Hall.
“I’m so appalled at the choices,” said Gillian, an independent who voted for President Barack Obama twice, but chose a Republican, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, as a “protest vote” because she didn’t care for any Republican or Democrat this time around.
She said she would only vote for Hillary Clinton in November if it came down to a contest between her and Donald Trump.
Vivien, a registered Democrat who also voted for Obama in the last two presidential elections, cast her ballot for Clinton, though reluctantly.
“I voted for her because I think she can win,” she said. “I can’t get excited for Bernie Sanders.”
Like her sister, Vivien said she has concerns about Clinton.
“I really don’t care for her much. I don’t trust her,” Vivien said. “But I think she’s qualified — the most qualified of the candidates.”
Gillian agreed, adding that Clinton’s record as secretary of state and the controversy over her use of personal email for official business blemished her trustworthiness.
Retired Marine Corps. Gen. Bill Weise joined about a dozen people waiting patiently in line at the Greenspring precinct in Fairfax County, which traditionally has the highest turnout in Virginia. The precinct is made up entirely of voters from the sprawling Greenspring retirement community.
The 86-year-old Weise says seven months of agonizing over who he’d vote for came down to the final 10 seconds before he filled in the bubble next to Ted Cruz’s name. Ben Carson was his favorite candidate, but he concluded Carson wasn’t viable. In sorting through the other GOP candidates, Weise felt Cruz would make better decisions than Donald Trump.
“I’ve read Cruz’s autobiography,” he said. “He’s not perfect. But show me somebody who is. …The ideal candidate does not exist.”
Michael Kernyat of Chesterfield County, Virginia, voted for John Kasich even though he thinks he probably just threw his vote away.
The 60-year-old retired computer consultant said Kasich is “the most reasonable person running” but probably has no chance of beating Donald Trump.
“Nobody is going to stop that freight train,” Kernyat said. “I think it’s going to come down between him and Hillary (Clinton).”
He said people seem to be rallying behind Trump because “they’re tired of politics as usual,” but he prefers the moderate positions of Kasich.
“The only one who really scares me in this election is Bernie (Sanders),” Kernyat said.