The first day of early voting in the Presidential Primary brought out Tennesseans both eager to cast a ballot and just ready to get it over with. Even before many of the candidates have made campaign swings through the state, many voters have already made up their mind.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has the support of Tennessee’s top elected official. And retiree Hilda McGregor says she and her husband like him too.
“There are some really good candidates out there. However we just feel like Romney is the best because he is a brilliant businessman. He’s not on the take. He has his own resources.”
But Romney’s wealth is a liability to Joe Nelson. He likes former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who he says would “shake things up” in Washington.
“I think a lot of times when some of these guys want in, they’re millionaires, billionaires or whatever. It’s just one more plateau that they want to do. It’s not necessarily maybe that they want to do a good job.”
Nelson says he feels Santorum’s motivations are more pure. In one of the first polls of Tennessee voters, Santorum held a seven point lead over Romney.
Only one name appears on the Democratic side. And Tommy Grimes of Nashville says he pulled the lever for President Obama. The retired autoworker says the President did most of what he said he’d do, including turning around the economy.
“You know, but people keep forgetting what was on his plate.”
At the Davidson County early voting site, corrections officer Cindy Diedrickson says she trusts Romney.
“Him and Newt Gingrich, it was kind of a tossup. But some of the stuff, the wife thing and stuff like that.”
The former House Speaker, who has been divorced multiple times, has slipped since his primary win in South Carolina. And in a poll released last week, he remained well behind Romney and Santorum in Tennessee.
Early voting in Tennessee runs through February 28th. Election Day is March 6th when a total of nine states hold primaries and caucuses.