With nearly half the registered voters in both towns turning out to vote Tuesday, Whitman and Hanson backed the outsiders in both the Democratic and Republican primaries in Massachusetts. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders garnered 1,414 votes to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 970 in Whitman, while he received 997 to Clinton’s 692 in Hanson. Statewide, Clinton carried the day by a slim margin of some 20,000 votes. Businessman Donald Trump received 1,242 votes in Whitman as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio got 292, Ohio Gov. John Kasich had 266, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had 186 and Dr. Ben Carson had 52. Other candidates who have withdrawn from the race split 60 votes in Whitman. Trump sailed to the front of the pack in Hanson with 1,000 votes, compared with 237 for Rubio, 205 for Kasich, 194 for Cruz, 50 for Carson and 46 for withdrawn candidates or no preference.
Of Whitman’s 9,909 registered voters, 4,582 — or 46 percent cast ballots. In Hanson 48 percent of the town’s 7,215 registered voters — 3,475 — cast ballots. “There was a line when polls opened this morning,” said Whitman Town Clerk Dawn Varley. “People were waiting.” She was hopeful, based on interest, phone calls and the number of people registering, that they might see a 50-percent turnout. In the first hour alone, 300 votes had been cast in Whitman. While voters lined up to vote, sign-holders supporting candidates were an unusually rare sight during the day on Tuesday. Two, supporting Sanders in Whitman and Cruz in Hanson, spoke of their support for their respective candidates. Anastasia Mykoniatos of Whitman, holding signs for Sanders in front of the post office next door to the Town Hall polling place, was counting on a high turnout to help her candidate, who she said needed five states to stay competitive. “I like the fact that he’s paying attention to the lesser-thought of issues such as student debt and the climate change that a lot of the other people aren’t paying attention to or supporting,” she said. “I like the fact that you can trace back his stance on issues for at least two decades.” Mykoniatos noted Sanders has supported LGBT rights since 1992, while Clinton voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Sanders took four states — Vermont, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Colorado — on Super Tuesday to Clinton’s seven. Trump took seven — Georgia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and Vermont —with Cruz winning Texas and Oklahoma and Rubio notching his first primary win in Minnesota. “Trump scares me,” Mykoniatos said.
Leslie J. Molyneaux, also a candidate for GOP state committeeman said he was backing Cruz for similar reasons. “I’m working for Ted Cruz because he’s a constitutionalist,” Molyneaux said outside of Hanson’s Maquan School polling place. “He knows the Constitution front and back and he’s been fighting for it his whole life.” Molyneaux noted that Cruz, a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, is also the most experienced candidate in terms of governance. “He successfully argued several cases regarding personal liberty before the Supreme Court,” he said. “Donald Trump, I don’t feel, is a conservative. Donald Trump is a populist and he has reached a nerve with the American people who truly are sick of government.” But, Molyneaux said, what happens down the road has yet to be determined. “Certainly the establishment Republicans are really unhappy because they don’t have a dog in the hunt,” he said. “I think the establishment is putting all their money behind Rubio, and he’s really not one of them, but he’s closer to being one of them than Trump or Cruz is.”One local official that has gone to work for Trump as the state co-chairman of that campaign is state Rep. Geoff Diehl, R-Whitman.
“He’s clearly going to win, it’s just a question of how big,” Diehl said of Trump’s chances Tuesday morning. “Just like my run in 2010, I think Donald Trump brings that same business background to D.C. with the momentum of supporters who feel like D.C. is no longer listening to them.” Diehl compares Trump’s past business setbacks with the experimental failures Thomas Edison experienced while inventing the light bulb. He also noted that the economic climate of the past few years has made Trump realize that government has done a poor job of allowing businesses to grow. “I’m a Cruz man, but Geoff is a good man,” Molyneaux said.