Williamston prepares for Republican presidential primary

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By Mallory Estepp
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON — Local voting in the Feb. 28 U.S. Republican presidential primary will be at the Williamston Community Center, said City Clerk Holly Thompson.

The Republican ballot has 11 candidates, along with an uncommitted slot. Out of the listed candidates, five of them, including Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann, have already dropped out of the race.

The Democratic ballot only has only only two options: Barack Obama and uncommitted.

According to the Ingham County website, Williamston, along with the rest of Ingham County, traditionally votes Democratic in elections. In the 2008 presidential election, 66 percent of voters in Ingham County voted for President Obama. Only 33 percent voted for John McCain.

With Williamston’s Democratic tendencies, it will be interesting to see which Republican will win the city.
Kenneth Williams, a political science professor at Michigan State University with specializations in political behavior and elections, has some speculations.

“Ingham County has a relatively high educational level relative to other counties in the state and tends to vote for Democratic candidates,” Williams said. “However, Republicans in the county relative to other counties in the state also have a higher educational level and tend to be more moderate in their ideology.”

Williams said, “Of all the Republican candidates, Mitt Romney is probably the most moderate Republican candidate, so I would think Ingham County Republican voters would support him.”

The professor also said that since Romney’s father was a popular governor in Michigan, that older voters might support Romney based on his father’s appeal.

“This appeal could cancel out the Mormon religious factor that Romney must overcome in other states,” Williams said.

Williams may be on to something: in the 2008 primaries, 36 percent of Ingham County Republicans voted for Romney, while 31 percent voted for John McCain.

The Ingham County Republican Party made no guesses as to who will win.

The Republican group’s chair, Norm Shinkle, said that the party as a whole doesn’t support a particular candidate, though individuals may have their own opinions on who should received the nomination.

Shinkle said that the party does not take sides and only wants the best candidate to win the nomination and to “defeat the worst president in the history of our country, Barack Obama” in November.

The Ingham County Republican Party encourages people to vote in the presidential elections, but it does not raise money for national elections, said the chairman.

However, Shinkle said that the group does raise money for Republican county candidates in local elections.

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