The red tide that swept the mountains this year favored Republicans in the White House, governor’s mansion, Congress and the state legislature. Even Jackson County, which was one of three mountain counties Obama captured in 2008, went to Romney this time around.
James Champagne, 61, of Clyde voted for Romney, though he’s a registered Independent. He voted Republican in the presidential race in part based on the economy. But casting what he called a “value vote” superceded his concerns about the debt and job growth.
“I vote my Christian beliefs first and foremost,” he said. “Abortion and social issues are more important than economic ones.”
Those throwing their support to Obama were more likely to follow suit with a Democratic ticket. Aaron Ratcliffe, a 20-year-old Democratic voter in Waynesville, expressed disdain for Romney.
“Frankly, I find Romney to be an out-of-touch rich jerk,” he said.
Voters frequently cited the economy as the driving rationale behind their vote — yet who they thought was the best man to ignite an economic recovery varied.
Waynesville resident Ashley Chambliss is a registered Democrat who voted a straight Democratic ticket. She said Obama has been hindered by Congress not acting and deserves another term to further his cause.
“I really admire Obama,” she said. “All of the fighting in Congress is not his fault. He needs four more years to complete his goals.”
Greg Stamey, 54, a Republican voter from Cruso (Haywood County), is an example of the trickledown effect the presidential race had on local and regional races in the mountains. Stamey voted for Romney for president and then stuck to a conservative ticket down the line.
Jan Pressley of Maggie Valley, the owner of a real estate magazine, believes the economy is on the way up.
“We are heading in the right direction and we need four more years,” she said.
But Arthur Louk, the owner of a valve repair business in Waynesville, believed Romney would do more to put the country back to work. He particularly resents the high cost of health insurance he faces as a small business owner and doesn’t believe that Obamacare is the solution.
Summer Bryant, a student at Southwestern Community College, said she voted a straight Democratic ticket. After her mother had been diagnosed with cancer several times, she said healthcare is one of the most important considerations when voting. She believes in Obama’s Affordable Care Act and the help it offers, such as guarantees for people with pre-existing conditions.
“Healthcare is big for me,” she said.
Retired Don Morrow, 67, of Waynesville, said he’s Independent but considers himself conservative. He said this vote had big stakes for the future of the country, and he voted for Romney. He said the outcome would dictate whether we would become a country of free enterprise or a nanny state.
“This is the most important election of my life,” he said. “It determines which way our country will go.”
But, some voters still believed in the change that Obama ran on last election and refuted Republicans claims that Obama has not accomplished anything.
“He is the only one trying to do anything,” said Monty Harris, 54, of Maggie Valley.