LIMA — President Barack Obama’s visit to Allen County late in the presidential campaign didn’t appear to sway voters, as he lost the county by a wider margin than four years ago.
Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney won Allen County over Obama with 61 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.
In 2008, Obama garnered 38 percent of the vote. In the region, voters in this heavily Republican region said they supported Romney, even when he wasn’t their ideal candidate.
Dana Reid, 55, voting at Lima Central Catholic High School, said he supported Romney.
“We can’t continue building a deficit for our kids. And, it’s not fair to fine people if they don’t have insurance,” Reid said. “And, I don’t want illegal Mexicans crossing the border and getting citizenship in two years.”
Duane Campbell, 46, of Lima, voted with his daughters, Brittney Campbell, 24, and Christina Campbell, 23. All three supported Obama, saying they trusted him with policies that would continue to grow the economy.
“It takes a long time to building something back after it’s been destroyed. It didn’t take long at all to destroy the economy. Slowly but surely, he’s building it back. It takes time,” Duane Campbell said.
His daughters voted in their second presidential election Tuesday, casting re-election votes.
“I trust him. He’s here for us,” Christina Campbell said. “I know he can do it.”
Rick Duffy, of rural Cridersville, said he could not support Obama because of social issues.
“He supports gay marriage, abortion. He also has raised the debt. We’ve all heard the reasons why he needs to be out of office,” Duffy said.
Even supporters of the president who voted for his re-election said they haven’t supported all of his decisions.
“The president hasn’t done as great a job as he could do, but I’m a huge fan of his social policies,” said Tiffany Becker, 27, a Lima resident who said she attends school in Columbus. “I have a lot of gay friends there, and I have found what he has done on that issue commendable. It’s important to me and it’s one of the big reasons I voted for him.”
James Oglesbee, 69, who voted at Bradfield Community Center, said he wants to see the economy improve, but supported Obama.
“I’m not happy with all he’s done, but the other guy is for the rich man. With his businesses overseas, he’s looking out for them. Once people get rich, they get greedy and want more,” Oglesbee said. “How many jobs did the president save at Chrysler? In Ohio? I don’t even know. A lot.”
Oglesbee said if re-elected, the president needs to do more to grow the economy. He’d also like to see Obama come around on the Abrams tank issue, he said. The president’s administration and Pentagon have wanted to shutter the Lima-based program that produces tanks, saying the military has enough and the temporary closure would save money.
Mark and Rebecca Phillips, voting at Lima West Middle School, weren’t waiting for the president to change his mind. Self-described conservative voters, they went with the candidate who has openly supported keeping the Abrams program, Romney.
“We’re voting for jobs,” Rebecca Phillips, 31, said. “My husband works at the tank plant. And, we don’t believe in Obamacare. It’s going to cost the country quite a bit.”
Some voters didn’t love their choices.
Ben Rife, 27, of Lima, voted for Romney, but didn’t love it.
“He’s definitely not my ideal candidate, but he’s more closely aligned to my beliefs than anyone else in our tragic two-party system,” Rife said.
David Carpenter, 70, of Lima, echoed the sentiment, saying he hasn’t had good choices in a presidential general election since the 1960s.
“I voted for Romney; he’s the lesser of two evils,” Carpenter said.