WASHINGTON (AP) — Twelve states in all cast votes for presidential nominees on March 1, also known as Super Tuesday, the biggest single-day delegate haul of the nomination contests. Republicans are voting in 11 states, with 595 delegates at stake. Democrats are casting ballots in 11 states, too, plus American Samoa, with 865 delegates up for grabs.
Here’s a look at what some voters had to say as they went to the polls Tuesday:
Tyler Murphy, a 26-year-old Boston resident who works as a project manager for a construction company, voted for Trump on Tuesday even though he thinks the billionaire businessman is “undeniably wrong on a lot of things.”
For better or worse, he said, the controversial candidate is the “wake up call” the country needs.
“Ultimately, if we have to elect someone who is borderline crazy to get people to understand what’s going on, then that’s what we have to do,” Murphy said.
An independent, he voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and Barack Obama in 2008 and said he’s donated to both parties in the past.
Murphy said that if Trump had not become such a viable candidate, he would likely have voted for Hillary Clinton.
“I just don’t think she’s going to be the person to shake people out of their seats,” he said. “She’s not what the country needs right now.”
Owen Worley, a 26-year-old Houston resident who works in finance, voted for Ted Cruz because he believes Cruz is focused on economic issues, including reducing the size of government and controlling the national debt.
“These were the more hot-button issues with me. He’s been pretty consistent with what he was elected here in the state to do,” he said of Cruz.
Worley thinks Rubio is too young and inexperienced to be president, and he didn’t like the last debate when Rubio attacked Trump. It came off “as a Stephen Colbert comedy routine rather than a legitimate policy discussion,” Worley said.
If Trump wins the GOP nomination then Worley says he’ll support him. Worley said he’s concerned that Trump can be too brash, but that “in the end if he’s an executive type, he’s good at being advised by smart people.”
Karen Williams, a lifelong Democrat from Duluth, Georgia, said she voted for Hillary Clinton. But the 55-year-old voter mostly has her eyes on Trump, whom she wants to stop from gaining the White House.
“I can’t see him talking to dignitaries from other countries, insulting people,” she said. “A lot of countries don’t take kindly to insults.”
Williams is so concerned about the campaign season’s “childish behavior” in the face of very real challenges for the country that she said a prayer before going in to vote Tuesday.
“I prayed,” she said. “I prayed for this nation. I really did. I’m really concerned.”
Ken Allen, from the Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek, voted for Marco Rubio. The 57-year-old IT project manager called it a “critical election” full of tough choices.
To sort through the options, he tried to ignore the “mudslinging” and rhetoric and instead closely examined candidates’ track records. He even dug back and looked at interviews Trump gave in 1990 to compare what he said then with what candidate Trump is saying on the campaign trail.
“He’s not my choice,” he said of Trump.
Allen said he was looking for qualities such as statesmanship and leadership.
He ranked his top issues as the economy first, foreign affairs second and the nation’s domestic “health and welfare” third.
So, what will he do if in November it comes down to a choice between Trump and Clinton?
“That’ll be a real tough choice,” said Allen, who typically votes conservative. “But I will tell you this … if Trump at least gets up there, I think he’s not beholden to anybody. That’s good and bad, right? He’s not going to feel obligated to do — he’ll do whatever he has to do to win.”