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Associated Press, Published November 06 2012

What N. Dakota voters have to say about 2012 races

BISMARCK — Thousands of people voted across North Dakota on Tuesday for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House and various ballot initiatives. Here's what they said about why they cast their votes:

—"He's for lower taxes, less spending, less government," said Ed Vanover, 65, of Bismarck, who owns rights to explore for oil on several properties, explaining his support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Vanover said he voted for North Dakota's Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Rick Berg, "for the same reasons."

—"I don't think (President Barack Obama) will reform (federal farm policy). I think he's just going to throw it out. (Republican presidential candidate Mitt) Romney, he'll reform it, and hopefully get us somewhere," said Willy Marler, 19, of Rogers, explaining his vote for Romney. In North Dakota's U.S. Senate race, Marler backed Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, saying, "I think she supports North Dakota better. She understands North Dakota and the way we live up here. It's a lot different from New York City or Los Angeles."

— "I like my guns," said Kurt Triplett, a 26-year-old Bismarck salesman who voted a straight Republican ticket.

— "I don't know if I'm a Republican or Democrat, but I think Romney is the better candidate," said Nicole Gipp, a 20-year-old cashier at a Bismarck McDonald's who was voting for the first time.

— "I don't think we can trust Rick Berg to do what's best for North Dakota. I think he will do whatever the Republicans want him to do," said Sara Kincaid, a 34-year-old substitute teacher in Bismarck. "I think Heidi (Heitkamp) will do what's best for North Dakota and think she tends to be more independent and won't vote along party lines."

— "A vote for Heidi (Heitkamp) would be a vote for Obama. The No. 1 reason I voted for Romney is because it's a vote against Obama," said 94-year-old Sol Wezelman, a retired Bismarck insurance agent who voted a straight Republican ticket.

— "The way things are right now, we're not moving ahead," said Eric Rudrud, a 63-year-old state Transportation Department employee and Republican voter. "We need to do things to get people employed."

— "I'm nine months pregnant and I don't believe in abortion or anything else Obama supports," said Ashley Lee, a 24-year-old stay-at-home mom and Bismarck Republican. "There are better options."

— "I don't think people realize how bad it really is," said Rick Meier, a 55-year-old Bismarck pawn shop employee and former Republican who voted a straight Democratic ticket. "There are a lot of hungry people out here."

— "I generally vote Republican for president, and the rest of the time I usually vote against the incumbent," said John Matheson, 85, a retiree from Fargo. "I think we're poorly served by some of these people."

— "Rick Berg signed the Grover Norquist agreement and that negated him as a candidate for me," said Carol Preston, 77, of Fargo, referring to the anti-tax advocate who has gotten many Republicans to pledge not to raise taxes. "The people of North Dakota vote for our representatives and senators and I don't think any of them have the right to sign a pledge with Grover Norquist that won't bring in more revenue."

— "I think the Democrats do a better job of looking out for the people than the Republicans do," said Sonny Olson, 53, of Fargo, who works in retail. "The Republicans have an advantage in this state, but I figure if I don't vote, it gives them even more of an edge."

— "The presidential race interested me the most. I voted for Obama," said Tracy Carlson, 31, of Fargo, who works for a law firm. "I think Romney is a little bit on the chauvinistic side."

—"I was raised Democratic. My mother was very, very staunch. I don't think (President Barack Obama) has done that bad. He had a lot to fix when he got in, all of the economy that went downhill for the last eight years," said Pat Stoxen, 60, a registered nurse in Bismarck, who voted for Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp.

—"Most of my family and friends are telling me that's the right choice that needs to be made right now. It was more of a peer thing. I really didn't get the whole lowdown," said Trevor Schmitt, 19, a Bismarck State College student and first-time voter, discussing his support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.