Romney wins Florida in GOP primary
Registered Republicans in Cape Coral took to the polls Tuesday to cast their vote for who they would like to see run for the presidency in November.
There were 162,360 Republicans registered in Lee County as of about a month ago, according to Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington. All of them were eligible to vote in the Florida presidential preference primary.
As of Tuesday, the Lee County Elections Office had received 11,350 absentee ballots. A total of 18,368 additional voters cast a ballot early.
“So, that’s almost 30,000 right there,” Harrington said.
She added that while the early voting and the absentee voting were a little higher than expected for the election, voter turnout on Tuesday was low.
“The general trend is toward early voting,” Harrington said.
At about 11 a.m., a random sampling was conducted of 10 precincts of different sizes in different areas with different demographics. Based off of the results, the precincts showed an average turnout of about 9 percent.
Harrington estimated less than half of those registered would vote.
“I think we’re looking at about 40 (percent) to 45 percent,” she said.
The actual turnout in Lee was 45.39 percent, with 73,425 Republicans casting ballots.
Mitt Romney took 47.92 percent of the votes, Newt Gingrich took 30.58 percent, Rick Santorum took 14.78 percent and Ron Paul took 5.8 percent.
Candidates who have since dropped out of the race, but whose names remained on the ballot, took a scattering of votes.
Among those who cast a ballot Tuesday was Cape resident Tim Barrier.
“I vote every time. I never miss an election,” the longtime Republican said.
Asked about the candidates on the presidential preference primary ballot, Barrier said he was not too pleased with Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.
“I think we have a very liberal Republican running in Mitt Romney, and two more conservative candidates,” he said, adding that he is more conservative.
Barrier called voting important and encouraged everyone to do so.
“The country’s run by the people that we elect. When we vote, we get a voice in who that person’s going to be,” he said, adding that they might not win.
For CJ Arenas, there was a specific issue that brought her out to the polls.
“I’m out for the unspoken, the unborn children,” the Cape resident said, explaining that she is against abortion.
“I would like somebody that would believe in life and family,” she added.
Asked about who she was voting for, Arenas said Santorum.
“I feel like he has a grasp on how I feel,” she said, noting that he is a Catholic. “He does have the same Christian values that I believe our country was built upon.”
A Republican for most of her life, Arenas said she votes in each election.
Also out at the polls on Tuesday was Cape resident Robert Bishop. A Republican for about 30 years, Bishop said he votes in every election.
“It’s a pretty poor field,” he said of his choices.
“Too much fighting, too much bickering,” Bishop added.
Asked who he was throwing his support behind, he explained that he would have liked to vote for Ron Paul, except Paul “doesn’t have the money.”
Putting his feelings aside to choose someone who might have a shot at reclaiming the presidential office from the Democrats, he picked Gingrich.
“I think he’s been lied against very badly by Mitt (Romney),” Bishop said, adding that he believes Gingrich also has the money to go the long haul.
He also liked that Gingrich has acknowledged making mistakes in his past.
“He’s admitted most of them – I just think he’s a fairly sincere man,” Bishop said.
“I just hope whoever wins can beat Obama,” he added.