The Herald Bulletin

November 7, 2012

Presidential race is personal for some voters

By Baylee Pulliam
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Late Tuesday night, several news outlets had called the presidential race for democratic incumbent Barack Obama.

In Madison County, however, Republican challenger Mitt Romney took a narrow-margin victory. Romney also took the state — and its 11 electoral votes — with 54.8 percent of the vote.

For some central Indiana voters, that vote was personal.

While his candidate didn’t win locally, Matt Benzenbower said he stood behind the president.

Obama has “done more for me personally than anyone ever could have,” he said.

Benzenbower’s been diabetic for about 40 years. Since his job didn’t offer medical coverage, he says he couldn’t afford his insulin pump before the president’s Affordable Care Act was passed.

“If it (the act) was passed 20 years sooner, my kidneys wouldn’t be failing,” said Benzenbower, 46 of Anderson, who voted at Anderson’s Fire Department Headquarters. He said he also might not have had his heart attack or be legally blind in one eye.

He says his doctor told him he can go another 10 years without dialysis if he stays the course he’s on. That worries him. Benzenbower keeps a sign in his yard that says “If you don’t vote, you don’t matter.”

On the other side of the party line, Mary Thomas voted a straight Democratic Party ticket, because that’s what her family’s always done.

But in the presidential race, it’s a little more personal for her.

Thomas’ son-in-law is stationed in Afghanistan. It’s the third time he’s been deployed to the Middle East.

“I just want the war to end,” she said. She said that’s more likely to happen with Obama in office.

Suzanne Wheeler, a teacher whose son just joined the Marines, likes Romney’s stance on foreign policy better. That’s part of why she voted for him.

“I don’t want us going into places (like countries in the Middle East) all the time,” she said. “But how long do you wait. Romney’s less apologetic” and more decisive, she said.

Her youngest, 21-month-old Jake, is adopted. That causes problems when trying to get coverage for his many health problems, she said.

Jake had been on Medicaid and the First Steps program, but whenever there was an issue with the payment, “We got just bombarded with calls,” said Wheeler, 40, of Anderson. “There’s just too much paperwork. Too much regulation.”

Find Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.