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Primary lacks voters

March 29, 2012

 

HANNAH SCHILLING
Staff Reporter

 

Louisiana Republican voters headed to the polls Saturday to decide who would get 20 of the state’s 46 delegates.

 

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum won the state, picking up 10 delegates, while Romney picked up only five.

 

Jason Pigg, department head of social sciences, said he is not surprised at the primary results.

 

“It makes sense that Santorum won,” Pigg said, “because of the makeup of the voters here. He is a religious conservative, and I think that appeals to conservative voters in the state.”

 

Trey Avant, a junior political science and sociology double major, said he wonders if Santorum’s win was because of reasons other than his political platform.

 

“I think people are scared to vote outside of their religion,” Avant said. “Santorum being Catholic was an easy way out. If Romney was Christian and not Mormon, he probably would have won Louisiana.”

 

Some Tech students made their way to the polls to pick their candidate Saturday.

 

Helen Marrs, a freshman political science major, was one of those students, and said she was not disappointed with the results.

 

“I voted for Santorum because he is the most conservative and I agree with a lot of his views,” Marrs said. “He is very patriotic.”

 

Other Tech voters, like Kendall Belcher, a senior civil engineering major, were not as happy about the results.

 

“I didn’t like that Santorum won,” Belcher said. “He is against same sex marriage and birth control.”

 

The second-place candidate, Mitt Romney, won the hearts of some Tech voters.

 

“I voted for Romney,” Avant said. “I don’t agree with his social stances, however, I am fiscally conservative and the economy is the most important thing for me. I feel like Romney is the most qualified to handle the economy.”

 

Belcher also voted for Romney and said his view on social issues like same-sex partnership and abortion were the reason for his vote.

 

The Louisiana primary was important to Santorum and he has been quoted by MSNBC saying, “We’re still here, and we’re still fighting.”

 

Pigg said the primary was a way for Santorum to prove himself.

 

“I think it keeps Santorum alive— barely,” Pigg said. “If he didn’t win, there would be no justification for him staying in the race. It’s another conservative state that Romney didn’t win.”

 

In order to be the Republican candidate in the general election against Barack Obama, one of the hopefuls will need to get 1,144 delegates to win the nomination.

 

Romney leads so far with 568 delegates, and Santorum trails behind with 273.

 

“I think Romney will win the nomination,” Avant said, “but Santorum’s win does show the divide in the GOP. There are people so stuck on social issues that they refuse to look at the candidate.”

 

Pigg said Santorum’s win means that Newt Gingrich is out of the picture.

 

“He was the only candidate from the South and he couldn’t win a southern state, [except Georgia]” he said.

 

Lauren Vizza, president of the College Republicans, said she is excited Louisiana got to play a bigger part in the primaries this year.

 

“Usually by this point there is a very clear nominee,” Vizza said. “It makes it interesting that states that are usually ignored come up with unexpected nominees. It’s not decided yet, and it’s something to keep watching.”

 

The New York Times was watching the Louisiana primary and called the turnout in the state “light.”

 

“The voting turnout was pathetic,” Pigg said. “It has been a problem. The turnout and enthusiasm is not there, and the Republican candidates have to be concerned.”

 

Not all students got the chance to vote on Saturday, and Nick Oliver, a freshman accounting major, was one of them.

 

“I was out of town,” Oliver said, “but I was going to vote for Santorum, and he won anyway, so that’s OK.”

 

Martha-Claire Booth, a junior general studies major, said every vote counts, because the more people that vote, the more clear the winner is. She also said how important it is for college studentsto have a say.

 

“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain,” Booth said. “People fought for our right to vote.”

 

Belcher agrees that everyone has an opinion, and we have a right to voice it through voting.

 

“It is a way to get your voice heard,” Belcher said. “If you voice your opinion to your family and friends, why not do it by voting?”

 

Vizza said voting is something no one should take for granted.

 

“I think it’s incredibly important for people to vote,” she said, “because this is a way for getting our voice heard. If we complain about the government, then don’t go vote, we aren’t doing our part.”

 

Forty-two delegates are up for grabs in the Wisconsin primary April 3, and the candidate that wins the most votes gets all of them.

 

“Wisconsin is coming up and Romney still has an edge there,” Pigg said.

 

Romney may have the edge in Wisconsin, but according to Pigg, Obama may have the edge in the general election.

 

“If the economy keeps improving, Obama has an edge,” he said. “If I were Romney, I would be concerned because Obama is ahead in the polls and has out-fundraised all of the Republican candidates and he hasn’t even really begun to campaign yet.”

 

Email comments to hms017@latech.edu.

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