Rainy primary day doesn't deter voters, supporters in South Carolina

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012 3:29 PM
Last updated Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 3:42 AM
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Kelly Remer couldn’t vote Saturday, but she stood in the rain for hours waving a Ron Paul sign in front of the voting precinct at Mossy Creek Elementary School in North Augusta.

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Joy Albrecht, accompanied by her daughter, Annie Albrecht, 6, votes in the South Carolina Republican primary at Aiken City Auditorium.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Joy Albrecht, accompanied by her daughter, Annie Albrecht, 6, votes in the South Carolina Republican primary at Aiken City Auditorium.
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Remer lives in Evans, so her chance to cast her vote doesn’t come until March. Paul’s message of financial responsibility and adherence to the U.S. Constitution is one she believes in enough to make phone calls, wave signs and stand in the rain, she said.

“For me, it’s that he doesn’t tell you what you want to hear,” she said. “He tells you how it is.”

Remer stood with Jeff Hutto, who lives in North Augusta and voted for Paul. Hutto said he believes it’s reasonable to hope for Paul to finish a “strong second” in South Carolina and maybe pick up more support as the primaries go on.

“A lot of people decide at the last minute who to vote for, and I figure this is one of the best ways to show them a real person and not just a yard sign,” he said.

The two agreed that it would be a stretch for Paul to receive the Republican nomination, but they said his supporters will be looking for candidates who align themselves with Paul’s platform.

“The other candidates are unelectable if we choose not to vote,” Remer said. “We’re getting people to think, and that’s always a good thing.”

Remer works as a certified financial planner and Hutto is an IT professional. They said people are often surprised at the makeup of Paul supporters.

“They expect us to be a bunch of hippies and crazies,” Remer said. “We’re people who understand how the economy works and what this country was built on.”

At a precinct on Whiskey Road in Aiken, 48-year-old Lisa Wright spoke highly of Newt Gingrich, the winner of the primary.

“I think Newt is the only one who can put up a fight, who can take our nation back financially, economically and put religion back in schools. Get (the nation) back to where it needs to be, one nation under God. Small changes make an overall change,” Wright said.

But Don Blevings, 55, voting at the same precinct, sang the praises of Mitt Romney.

“Mr. Romney has good business practices, and he’s been in business. That’s what we need, free enterprise. I think we need more of businesses growing to get the nation back on track. There are too many thing hindering private businesses now,” he said.

In Edgefield, where “Newt 2012” signs outnumber all others 10-1, driving rain and a tornado watch deterred few voters, workers at four precincts said. Turnout was about average, they said.

At the Harmony precinct, inside the Strom Thurmond High School Career Center, 189 people had voted by about 4 p.m. Among them were Gingrich supporters Charles and Laura Murphy.

“I think he’s very intelligent,” Laura Murphy said, and “straight,” her husband chimed in.

At the town Legion Hut, which houses two precincts, Shannon Tuten cast her ballot for Ron Paul, because “he’s not an establishment candidate.” She likes his ideas, though she’s “not crazy about his foreign policy.”

Still, she said, she has a son in the military and he and his fellow soldiers like Paul, and that’s a good enough endorsement for her.

Staff Writers James Folker and Tiffanie Meador contributed to this report.


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