Election 2012: Maryland Voters Give Romney Decisive Victory
But timing of the election leads to low turnout
Mitt Romney claimed a decisive victory in the Maryland primary on Tuesday. He won with 49 percent of the vote, followed by Rick Santorum with 28.9 percent, Newt Gingrich with 10.9 percent, and Ron Paul with 9.5 percent. Since Maryland is a winner-take-all state, Romney also won all 37 delegates Maryland will send to the Republican National Convention.
But the day at voting stations was slow. A little more than 238,000 votes were cast. That's a turnout rate less than 21 percent.
Polling officers told me they did not anticipate a large voter turnout for several reasons. Some voters took advantage of the early voting opportunity and cast their ballots last week. Secondly, the election date coincided with the middle of spring break for many schools in the state and many families were away on vacation. Additionally, the GOP candidates didn't show a great deal of interest in Maryland, a predominantly Democratic state.
Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than two to one, and the Republican contenders had a hard time getting out the vote.
The Maryland primary comes near the end of the race for the Republican nomination. Yet there's no clear Republican presidential nominee. The voters who turned out yesterday said they believe there will be consequences for the long Republican battle at the top of the ticket.
Michael Henningsen of Frederick predicts the long primary fight can potentially hurt the nominee's chance in the general election.
"People haven't been given the time to concentrate on one candidate," he said. "The candidates are too busy fighting each other instead of focusing on the issues."
Alison Fowler of Myersville agreed.
"To me, all of the Republican candidates sound the same," she said. "Nobody really stands out as being unique. They all are just saying the same things."
But voters had more on their minds than the long primary race. They were aslo worried about issues like the economy and jobs. Another popular concern was health care.
Jim Plamondon co-owns and operates a network of hotels and restaurants in Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. He said his main concern is that government health care reform will make it much more expensive for businesses like his to provide health insurance for their employees.
"The costs alone would have a big impact on our ability to grow and thrive as a business," he explained.
Equally important was the issue of national debt. Ron Heavner of Middletown pointed out that it's a problem that needs to be addressed.
"The debt is huge and it exploded because of our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
When it comes to what voters in Maryland are looking for in a President, they said they wanted honesty, integrity, and experience in government and business.
Based on Tuesday's election results, voters feel Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee with the qualities to be President.
Scholastic News Kid Reporters are on the campaign trail! Keep up with latest election news on the Election 2012 website.
NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS
Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.