Haley a common vote among Franklin County residents

John and Caroline Abercrombie check in to vote at Greenfield High School on Tuesday.

John and Caroline Abercrombie check in to vote at Greenfield High School on Tuesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Phylis Dacey helps Cyndie Ouimette cast her vote in Conway Town Hall on Tuesday.

Phylis Dacey helps Cyndie Ouimette cast her vote in Conway Town Hall on Tuesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Tamara Grogan registers her vote at Greenfield high School on Tuesday.

Tamara Grogan registers her vote at Greenfield high School on Tuesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Ray Younghans, left, and Lou Maldonado stand outside in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump near 62 Cheney St., where Orange’s polls were located.

Ray Younghans, left, and Lou Maldonado stand outside in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump near 62 Cheney St., where Orange’s polls were located. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Residents check in to vote on Tuesday in Conway Town Hall.

Residents check in to vote on Tuesday in Conway Town Hall. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 03-05-2024 5:39 PM

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley appeared to be holding her own in Franklin County on Super Tuesday, garnering votes from Republicans distancing themselves from Donald Trump and from Democrats hoping to soften the blow in the event that President Joe Biden loses his reelection bid in November.

Seven Republicans are on the Republican ballot, though only Haley and Trump are actively campaigning at this point. Haley, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration, has vowed to stay in the race “as long as we are competitive,” but has won only the Washington D.C. primary.

Mae Williams, who described herself as a typically reliable Democratic voter, opted for Haley “only just because I would do anything in the world not to see Trump in the White House again.”

“I believe that he is Putin’s way into America. I do,” the recent Orange transplant stated after casting her ballot at 62 Cheney St.

Williams said she was open-minded about Trump’s initial candidacy until he called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. She said she voted for Biden in 2020 and will again in November.

The other candidates on the Democratic ballot are U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, from Minnesota, and author Marianne Williamson. Heading into Super Tuesday, neither had secured any delegates compared to Biden’s 206.

Orange resident Sharlene Rourke voted for Haley “because I don’t want Trump again, and it’s kind of scary the way things are leaning.”

She mentioned her stepson and his family live in South Carolina and speak highly of Haley, though they initially supported U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, another South Carolinian, until he dropped out of the presidential race. Rourke said she voted for Trump in 2016 because her husband did. She said she tries to vote in every primary election.

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“I’m usually on the losing end of any sort of election, but I feel that, at least for presidential elections, it’s important for the candidates and for the people in town to know which way we’re leaning. And, even if I don’t win, at least my voice has been … heard,” she said. “I feel the Democratic Party is leaning a little too left. Actually, even one of my adult children said they were uncomfortable with the direction of the Democratic Party.”

Alejandra Spruill, an attorney and another recent newcomer to Orange, pulled the Libertarian ballot and voted “No Preference.” She said she left the Democratic Party at the end of last year after U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was captured on video at a restaurant rebuffing a constituent asking why she would not call for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Nancy Alexander, of Greenfield, is an enrolled Republican who said she fears Trump’s reelection.

“I was here to vote against him,” she said outside the polls at Greenfield High School, adding that she opted for Haley.

She said she regrets her vote for Trump in 2016 and did not cast a ballot in 2020.

“And, unfortunately, I will do the same again this year if it comes down to Biden and Trump,” Alexander said. “Trump, I might agree with some of his policies but I don’t agree with the way he handles himself. I think he’s a disgrace to this country. No values, no morals, nothing.

“I could be here all day talking about how much I dislike Trump,” she added.

Joseph Hennessey, who moved from Colrain to Greenfield 11 years ago, said he tries to vote in every primary election to ensure he participates in the democratic process as early as possible. He said he voted for Haley on Tuesday.

“I really want Biden and, really, more so, I don’t want Trump — way more so,” he said, describing the sitting president as level-headed, competent and kind.

“I fear for the safety of the world, related to NATO [if Trump is reelected],” Hennessey said. “And I’m concerned about [Trump’s] … personally gratifying choices he would execute.”

Alice Timmons, also of Greenfield, voted “No Preference.” She said she rarely votes for a Democratic second-term president because war is an enormous issue for her.

“That’s my red line,” she said. “It always has been.”

Timmons said she has previously supported U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and physician Jill Stein, who has been the Green Party’s nominee for president.

“I align left of the Democrats. I don’t consider them a party of the Left. I consider them a party of centrists,” she said. “And there’s no new ideas there … and they don’t care about changing things or fixing things.”

Timmons said it disappoints her that many voters don’t show up for primary elections, because “that’s where you have the most effect.”

Robert Cloutier, a Greenfield resident since 1974, said he voted for Trump.

“He’s the only one that’s going to save this country. As far as I’m concerned, we’re going down the tubes,” Cloutier said. “If we don’t get it [right] this time, kiss this country goodbye, [with] the way it’s being handled right now. That’s my opinion.”

The biggest issues, he said, are the American-Mexican border and the economy.

“The minute Biden took office he reversed everything that Trump did, caused all these problems,” he said. “And if you can just reverse all that back, we’ll be back to where we were.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.