- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A collection of voter voices during Tuesday’s primary election in Arkansas:

In Little Rock, Allan Griffin, 47, a network analyst, said he voted for Republican Curtis Coleman for governor.

“He’s newer, I guess,” he said. “I know Asa (Hutchinson) has been in the game a long time.”

Griffin said it appealed to him when Coleman proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow the Legislature to overrule “activist judges.”

Griffin said he voted for French Hill for the 2nd District congressional seat.

“I just hadn’t heard very much from the others,” Griffin said.


In Little Rock, Marilyn Keps, 57, a legal secretary, said she pulled a Democratic ballot.

“It was just a bunch of people running unopposed,” she said.

Keps said showing her ID, which is required under a new law, wasn’t a problem but she didn’t like it.

“I wanted to say something snide about it but it’s a bunch of little grandmas in there. They can’t do anything about it,” Keps said.


In Little Rock, Alison Brown, 52, an operations manager for a wireless company, voted a Republican ballot and that she was pleased to have so many GOP candidates to choose from.

“I like having two or three parties - the independents. It creates a balance,” Brown said.

Brown added that she was glad the voter ID law is in place.

“It keeps people from voting twice and the other kind of fraud you can have,” she said.


Stan Roberts, 62 and retired, voted in the Republican primary in West Memphis. He said he was a supporter of the tea party and disapproves of incumbents or career politicians.

“If I see a name that I recognize, I’m probably going to vote for the other guy,” said Roberts, whose last two jobs were as a salesman for beer distributors. He lost his last two jobs after both distributors were bought out.

Roberts expressed a low opinion of Washington Democrats - he said they are “all about their ego” - and the implementation of the federal health care law.

Roberts also said he supports the voter ID law because it could help prevent voter fraud.

“If you want to vote you should be able to have some identification that says who you are,” he said.


At a church in west Little Rock, Anne Parat, 71, a retired office manager, said she voted for Hutchinson for governor.

“I think he’s got a better chance to beat Mike Ross. I actually kinda like Curtis Coleman better. I just don’t think he has a chance” to win the general election, Parat said.

Parat voted for Conrad Reynolds, a retired Army colonel, for 2nd District Congress.

“His military background. That and he called me personally,” she said.

A lifelong Republican, Parat said it’s a new experience seeing such a crowded GOP ballot.

“It used to be you’d look at the ballot and there’s the one (Republican) candidate,” she said.


In Little Rock, Cary Lewis, 50, an account manager, said he voted for Ross for governor. Lewis said he judges candidates mainly on their television advertising.

“One commercial can sway me,” Lewis said.


In Fayetteville, Breanna Faught, 39, identified herself as a party-line Republican voter “all the way.”

“I’ve been laid off three times during this Democratic president, so I’m Republican,” she said.

For governor, she supported Hutchinson because her mother grew up with him and has known the candidate’s family for years.

“I feel like we need a change,” she said. We’ve had the Democrat in the last couple years. I feel like we need a Republican, someone who’s actually been in Washington and now can come home and maybe run the state similar to how he ran the country when he was getting everything squared off after 9/11.”


In Pine Bluff, lawyer Robert Morehead, 78, voted on the Democratic primary ballot and chose Mike Ross over Lynette Bryant for governor, because Ross used to be his representative. He said he didn’t know much about Bryant before Tuesday’s primary.

“It was a simple choice for me,” he said.

Morehead said he disagreed with the state’s new voter ID law.

“It’s an opportunity to take advantage of the voting public and for the Republicans and tea partiers to deny access to people who they consider their enemies - older people and minorities. It’s as simple as that,” he said.


White Hall resident Kathy Smoke, 55, voted on the Republican primary ballot, but has voted for Democrats in the past, most recently in 2012.

“This time, there were a few Republicans that I wanted to see make it to the fall,” she said. They include GOP candidate Leslie Rutledge for attorney general and Hutchinson in the governor’s race.

“I liked, I guess, probably (Rutledge’s) commercial where she places herself as a Christian and that she would like to be a woman in the office of attorney general and I like that,” she said. “I’ve liked Asa all along, and I think he’s done a good job as representative and I think he’d be a good governor.”

But, she added, she may choose Ross in six months if he wins his party’s vote on Tuesday.

“I’m going to kind of watch both of them now and then, but I think any one of them will be a great governor,” she said.


In Conway, Chuck Shelton voted in the Democratic primary. He said he said he had hoped to vote for U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, but didn’t realize he didn’t have any opposition in Tuesday’s primary. He planned to vote for Pryor in the fall because the senator helped him with an issue he had with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“That was my main reason for showing up to vote today,” Shelton said. He also voted for Bryant in the gubernatorial primary “for some new blood and for change rather than the same thing all the time. We need a shakeup”

His wife, Gina Shelton, voted in Republican primary, and cast a ballot voted for Hutchinson in the gubernatorial primary. “He’s conservative. And I like where he stands on a lot of issues,” Gina Shelton said.


Also in Conway, David Quarles, 59, who works at a school bus parts factory, voted in the Republican primary and called himself a longtime Republican.

He voted for Coleman in the gubernatorial primary, saying the candidate’s values align with his own. He also cast a vote for Hill in the 2nd Congressional District race.

He said he’ll vote for whoever the Republican nominees are in the fall.

“There’s not a Democrat on the planet I’d vote for right now,” he said.


Associated Press writers Chuck Bartels in Little Rock, Andrew DeMillo in Conway, Christina Huynh in Pine Bluff, Adrian Sainz in West Memphis and Kurt Voigt in Fayetteville contributed to this report.

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