Voters in 5 states speak out on their presidential choices

AP News
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Posted: Apr 26, 2016 2:18 PM

Voters in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and Maryland are casting primary ballots for presidential candidates in contests pivotal for Republicans and Democrats alike. Democrats are choosing between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, while Republicans are deciding among Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump.

Here are some voters' thoughts:

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Laura Seyler calls Donald Trump a bully.

That's why she voted for him.

"I'm a very solid Cruz fan, and I think Cruz would do an excellent job. But I think Trump is a bigger bully," Seyler, 63, a senior buyer for a direct marketer, said Tuesday at a polling place in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. "That may sound strange, but I think that's kind of what we need."

Seyler, a Republican, said the country is going in the wrong direction — away from constitutional principles and toward socialism — and Trump will lead a restoration.

"I believe Trump will take the bat and straighten things out. I don't think he's afraid, he doesn't owe anybody anything, and I think he's very much an American that loves his country, and he sees Americans suffering," she said.

"He's not perfect. He has flaws. But who is? We could go through every list of politician and pick him apart, but I think he's pulling the people together, and that says a lot," she added.

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Loretta Becker, a pharmaceutical sales representative, said she generally doesn't vote in primaries but came out Tuesday to cast her ballot for Clinton because she considers her the most qualified candidate and is worried about a potential Trump presidency.

"He slurs, his negativity, his racism, the comments that he makes about different ethnic groups I just find it appalling." Becker said after voting in Warwick, Rhode Island.

A former social worker and onetime Vermont resident, Becker indicated she also liked Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, but Clinton was her first choice.

Why Clinton?

"The fact that I really loved having Obama for president and now having Hillary as a president, feeling like she'll do a great job and knowing that she's the best candidate and wanting to vote for her and support her," Becker said.

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Jon Passauer works two jobs, at a coffee shop in the morning and at a bike shop in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, he biked to a polling place in Pittsburgh to vote for Sanders.

A registered Republican until this year, Passauer, 29, voted Republican in the last two presidential elections but switched his registration to Democrat to vote for Sanders.

"I really like Bernie's message," he said. "What he's got going for him is some fresh ideas."

Passauer said a key issue for him was the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. He said he would like to see nonviolent criminals not locked up as frequently, or for as long.

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Mary Ann Quinn, a widow and retiree, said she voted for Cruz because she felt he was honest and very intelligent.

"He has worked for the people while he has been in office and the reason I voted for him is because Trump, I don't care for his language, I don't think that he would be a good representative to other countries," said Quinn, after casting her ballot in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Creating jobs with higher salaries and seeing that more goods are produced in the U.S. rather than abroad were among the issues most important to Quinn.

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Kelley Carey, 48, a nurse from Glastonbury, Connecticut, said she voted for Kasich in the Republican primary.

"I believe he is the most level-headed one of the candidates in this scary, scary bunch of candidates that we have," she said. "I think he's somebody that can bring people together as well. I don't feel like he is a divisive person, which is something we need to move away from."

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Sabrina Stevens of Riverdale Park, Maryland, who brought her 15-month-old son with her to vote, said she agreed with Sanders on many issues but voted for Clinton because she believes Sanders is making promises he can't keep.

"I started off very solidly for Bernie, and then over the course of the election he really lost me," Stevens said. Clinton, she said, is "more prepared to actually do things in office."

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Charbel Najem, 22, of Providence, Rhode Island, is an engineering student at the University of Rhode Island. Originally from Lebanon, Najem said he became a citizen three months ago and voted in the Democratic primary for Sanders.

"I think he's an honest person and he's talking about issues that are relevant," said Najem, an unaffiliated voter.

Najem said he thinks most of Sanders' plans are not only feasible, but more feasible than the other candidates' proposals.

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Ryan Shiring voted in his first presidential primary on Tuesday, casting a ballot in Glastonbury, Connecticut, for Trump.

"I just feel as a young Republican he appeals to us," said Shiring, 20, an engineering major at the University of Connecticut. "He is anti-establishment, and that's something I gravitate toward. ... It's my first time voting. I felt it was important to come out. I wanted to feel like my vote counted, and I feel like it definitely did."

Shiring said he agrees with Trump's immigration policy, and he admires Trump for speaking his mind and taking on the Republican establishment.

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Associated Press writers Michael Rubinkam in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, Michelle R. Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, Rodrique Ngowi and Jennifer McDermott in Warwick, Rhode Island, Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh and Dave Collins in Glastonbury, Connecticut, contributed to this report.