Can native son Romney win his home state?

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By Rou Weng
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

As the Michigan GOP primary date gets closer, discussions are focusing on whether Mitt Romney, a Michigan-born candidate, will win in his home state. However, random interviews of people in East Lansing indicate that the answer is not clear.

Among 10 respondents on the street, only two said that they would vote for Romney. Elina Swadlins, a homemaker, said that she liked Romney because she thought he was a family man.

Emil Di Vietri, 60, a cook at Michigan State University, said that the only reason he would vote for Romney was that he saw him on television more often than other candidates.

Though most people said that they have registered to vote on Feb.28, few said they have decided how to vote. Wayne and Anna Werner are proprietors of a family business, and they expressed that they had no preference.

Ray Walsh, owner of Curious Bookshop, said it was too early to decide. “Maybe I’ll vote for someone who wins,” he joked. Walsh claimed that as a businessman, he was most concerned about the economy and taxes.

Brad Griffin, 25, a salesman on Grand River Avenue, expressed a mixed opinion. He said that personally he backed Ron Paul because Paul was U.S–centered. But Griffin claimed he might vote for Romney because it seemed that Romney was more likely to win the primary. “I’ll vote for Obama in the presidential election,” Griffin said without hesitation. Only registered Republicans may vote in the GOP primary.

Griffin was one of several who said they would vote for Obama in the presidential election. Charles, 55, unemployed, said that he would definitely vote for Obama. Adam Wilcox, 23, a salesman on Grand River Avenue, also backed Obama. “I don’t like Romney,” Wilcox said. Wilcox was concerned about the military budget and human rights.

Eric Hylen, 54, a manager at General Motors, said that he was thinking between Romney and Rick Santorum. Hylen’s opinion represents what most political analysts forecast, a close race between Romney and Rick Santorum.

Thomas Flynn, 50, a cook at Michigan State University, said that he disagreed with Romney on many issues like abortion and gay marriage, but thought Romney would win the GOP primary in Michigan. “Religion might be a problem for him,” said Flynn. “Mormon is a cult in people’s eyes,” he added.

“Michigan’s been my home, and this is personal.” Romney said in his latest TV advertisement. “I don’t think he’s a native,” said Don Power, a city council member of East Lansing, “but I do respect his father.”

George Romney came out of a business career to be Michigan’s governor from 1963 to 1969.

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