Update: Morning primary voters in Milford show conservative lean

MILFORD —

By the early afternoon on Tuesday, the polling locations in Milford had still not become crowded. Many voters were focused on the race for the U.S. Senate.

Mercedez Halliday was voting at Milford High School with her husband Joe. She hoped that Republican Lauren Witzke would be able to eventually unseat Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.

“She is for the people. She’s out with the people a lot,” Ms. Halliday said. “She wants to hear what the people really are looking for as opposed to telling us what we should feel like we need.”

Ms. Halliday wasn’t the only voter who noted the importance of the Senate race.

“It’s always good to control the Senate because all the decisions are made there,” said Eiston Arroyo, who voted at Lulu Ross Elementary School. “The Senate runs the country.”

Brennon Fountain, a controller for the state treasurer’s office voting at Milford High School, concurred.

“The Senate race is most important. I definitely think there are a lot of positive changes that are needed in those seats, so that means a lot to me,” he said.

“I’m deciding to vote for Sen. Chris Coons,” Mr. Fountain said. “He’s done a lot for all communities and I think he’s fair across the board with his stance.”

Mr. Fountain said he’s not a partisan.

“For me it’s not so much whether it’s Democratic or Republican. It’s just that all people are treated equal and the laws of the land are followed,” he said. “I’m looking to put the right people in office.”

So was Deborah Weeks, a teacher voting at Lulu Ross.

“There’s a good friend of mine, (Republican state Sen.) Colin Bonini, who is running for governor, and I wanted to make sure that I place my vote in the primary so that he makes it on the ballot,” she said. “I know Colin because I lived up in Camden-Wyoming for 17 years and he’s very supportive of the schools, a big patron of the SPCA and he’s been in the government for a very long time.”

But Ms. Weeks was also looking to shake things up on a more local level.

“I think there needs to be a change,” she said. “I wasn’t happy when the vote went through to raise my taxes in Sussex County and I think we need to think about the working class, because we’re carrying this country, and putting more and more on us isn’t really fair.”

Ms. Weeks came out to vote in person.

“If you do what you need to do with the (personal protective equipment), you’re fine,” she said.

She saw her decision to vote as an important element of setting a good example for her students.

“I teach my students that if you want a voice, you need to get out there and vote, because nobody wants to listen to you complain if you’re not going to do anything yourself,” Ms. Weeks said.

“I use myself as a role model by coming out here and voting in between my students’ classes today,” she said. “It’s showing them that I do care. I care about what’s going to happen in their future.”

***

Around 9 this morning, those voting at Milford polling locations for Delaware’s primary races were mostly older White residents who lean toward conservatism.

The group of voters inside Milford High School “seemed a little bit older,” said 31-year-old Travis Walls, an owner of Delmarva Petroleum Services, when he voted today.

He and several others reported that the polling locations were not crowded.

Mr. Walls said voting in the primary was easy and that it wasn’t notably different from his past voting experiences.

“It seems more reliable,” Mr. Walls said of voting in person. “Just because you don’t have to worry about the post office messing something up and getting lost in the mail.”

Terry Montgomery, who was voting at Mispillion Elementary School on the other side of town, also had some qualms about mail-in voting.

“We got six mail-in ballots,” she said. “All that wasted money for all those ballots they’ve sent me alone. How many other people have gotten them?”

Her husband, Roger, was also suspicious of voting by mail.

“I just don’t trust it,” he said. “We’ve always voted in person all through the years.”

Mr. Montgomery was very focused on the race for governor.

“I want to get rid of (John) Carney,” he said. “He’s trying to control us. It’s all about control.”

Mr. Montgomery was also very skeptical about COVID-19 and the government’s response to it.

“On Nov. 3, the masks will come off,” he said. “The virus is disappearing, and they’re doing nothing about it.”

Both Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery said Republican Julianne Murray would be their choice to replace the incumbent governor.

Mr. Walls was more focused on the U.S. Senate race.

“I just feel like (senators) kind of make more of a difference,” he said. “It seems like the governor’s race, we try to vote Republican, but it never really goes that way.”

Mr. Walls described himself as leaning toward conservatism. The police and protests against them were a primary concern for him.

“As far as everybody talking about defunding the police and police brutality,” he said, “I think everyone just needs to come to a better understanding of what’s going on and not try to punish one side or the other more.”

Jeanne Coherd, who was voting at Milford’s Lulu Ross Elementary School today, also had strong feelings about what she described as civil unrest.

“The right to protest peacefully” was important to her, but “not this violent stuff. This has got to stop. The maiming and shooting and killing is ridiculous, and it’s not going to get us anywhere except into disarray.”

Ms. Coherd, who described herself as a “conservative Republican,” said it’s her civic duty to vote. She votes in every election, but feels more empowered in the realm of local politics than national politics.

“That’s grassroots. That’s where everything starts,” she said. “That’s where all your attitude starts, and you can actually feel you’re part of something. It’s kind of hard to feel a part of something on a national level, but on a local level you can feel like you’re doing something.”

This story has been updated.

Reach staff writer Noah Zucker at nzucker@newszap.com