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MailTribune.com
  • Voters have their say

    Rogue Valley voters decide the presidential election is more about the issues than the candidates
  • An uneasy feeling has crept over many local residents faced with the dilemma of who to vote for in the presidential race.
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  • An uneasy feeling has crept over many local residents faced with the dilemma of who to vote for in the presidential race.
    "I'm not voting at all," said Karen Gottsch, a Medford Republican who voted for former President George W. Bush twice. "I held my nose once before, and I won't do it again."
    Gottsch's position is stronger than most, though many residents expressed reservations about both candidates. Some said they're still undecided, while others have grown more frustrated with the race between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
    "I haven't listened to one single thing out of either one of them in months," Gottsch said. "I have no opinion."
    Another Medford Republican, Hannah Messenger, said, "It's really hard for me to decide. I want to make a decision on who I think will make the right choices."
    Messenger said she was supportive of Ron Paul during the primary, but disappointed he didn't win.
    Madison Parmenter, a Medford Democrat who is leaning toward Obama, said the debates left her cold and puzzled as to the choice she will have to make Nov. 6.
    "I was not impressed with either one of their answers," she said. "They were more interested in battling each other and showing each other who's the boss."
    Both Romney and Obama have a tendency to talk down to the American people, she said.
    Parmenter said she believes Obama has been trying to fix the problems he inherited from the prior administration, but he hasn't done enough to get American troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
    "It might be good to give him more time to fix the things he's inherited," she said.
    As to Romney, she said his tendency to push women's buttons on certain issues doesn't sit well with her.
    "I haven't voted yet," Parmenter said Friday. "It's still sitting on my table."
    Matthew Orndoff, a Medford independent, isn't voting for either Obama or Romney, preferring Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.
    Orndoff said the two main candidates haven't taken a strong enough stance on personal rights, which he thinks have been trampled on by recent administrations.
    "If they suspect you of terrorism, they will take you off to prison without due process," he said.
    His second big concern, which is shared by most voters, is improving the economy.
    Hugh Hendrickson, a Phoenix Democrat, said he doesn't usually vote along party lines, preferring to vote for the person rather than the candidate.
    His main concerns are the economy, so he's casting his vote for Romney, he said.
    "The price of food and everything else is so high," he said. "Some people have to choose between medication and food."
    Hendrickson said he's concerned over the country's involvement in so many wars and the expense of keeping troops in so many nations around the world.
    Joanna Forst, a Medford independent, said she feels torn between Obama and Romney.
    "I wouldn't consider myself too into the race," she said. "I don't like either candidate."
    Most of her friends at Southern Oregon University are supporters of Obama, but her family is generally conservative and backs Romney.
    Forst said she plans to vote, saying she's not easily swayed by the arguments of either her friends or her family.
    "I wish we had better candidates," she said.
    Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email dmann@mailtribune.com.
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