Fire House primary sparks interest


Voters lined up as if there were a fire sale on Tuesday morning to cast their ballots, which seemed appropriate at the fire house precinct. A bonfire to keep voters warm would also have been appropriate in the 24 to 28 degree temperatures.  

The frosty climate did not turn the voters dispositions frosty as they expressed positive thoughts on their candidate of choice. 

I voted for Hillary, said an ebullient Bernice Clark of Sen. Clinton (D-NY). She is absolutely good. She knows what shes talking about and Im confident shell do a good job; and not because shes a woman, but because shes been there, said Clark, a 32-year Alexandria resident. 

But Rebecca Eichler, 38, and eight-year resident of Alexandria opted for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in spite of gender issues. It kills me not to vote for a woman, but I think Obama has a better fighting chance over McCain, said Eichler, referring to presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). I saw Obama Saturday at T.C. Williams and he inspired hope, said Eichler, who noted that US Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was her first choice in the primary process. I liked his proposal for a Department of Peace, said Eichler, who voted with her children Maya, 5, and Jonah, 2, in tow. 

Turkey native Ali Yilmaz, 59, a four-year city resident also voted for Obama, saying, hes the least contaminated, having spent the least amount of time in DC. Yilmaz adamancy for Obama is such that should the Illinois senator not earn the Democratic nomination, he would likely sit out the November general election. 

On the other hand, John Durant, 60, a 25-year Alexandria resident, who also voted for Obama, said, this is an unusual election. Theres two people Im comfortable with two good candidates Obama and McCain. I like Obamas momentum. He has fresh ideas; hes something different. [Bill] Clinton was a great president, but he did tremendous damage to the presidency. He should not be allowed back into the White House. He shouldnt be allowed to take the tour, said Durant. 

Yet, Nicole Veri, 31, a five-year Alexandria resident is ready to welcome the former president back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I voted for Clinton because I trust the Clintons. Well get both of them.

Fernando Alvarez, a native of Bolivia and a 12-year resident of Alexandria agreed with Veri. I want to have the economy we had when her husband was president, Alvarez said of his support for Clinton. I want to erase the debt for my kids. I do not want to make war due to economic interests. I want [this country to become friends with the rest of the world, said Alvarez, adding that it was a privilege to choose this country to live in. 

Alex Krem, another anti-war voter, cast his ballot for US Rep. Ron Paul (R-IL). Ron Paul is the only candidate who speaks from the heart. He speaks to me intellectually, emotionally and morally. On the issue of terrorism, he thinks we had some responsibility, and I agree with him, said Krem, a six-year Alexandria resident of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, DC/Arlington and Pennsylvania. The United States position in the Middle East is not even-handed; we are creating terrorists for our childrens children to deal with. On 9/11 we had the worlds sympathy. Now were the bullies in the school yard, said a fervent Krem. 

Another GOP voter, Joe Freitas, 53, cast his ballot for Mitt Romney, even though the former Massachusetts governor suspended his campaign last Thursday. I just wanted to express my opinion of being a conservative, said Freitas, an eight-year Alexandria resident, noting that family values was the key issue for him. I will vote for McCain in the fall I dont have a choice, said Freitas. 

And although Carrol Kinsey, 53, initially supported Romney, he actually did vote for McCain on Tuesday. I think he has the best chance of beating either of the Democratic candidates. McCain is strong on defense and national security, said the one-year city resident. 

Also torn between her first choice, former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) and her eventual candidate, Annie Rosello, 36, said Caroline Kennedys endorsement of Obama was the deal maker. She doesnt usually do that, Rosello said of the rare Kennedy endorsement. I saw Obama speak at the 04 convention and I was impressed by him then, said the three-year Alexandria resident. 

Regardless of for whom the voters cast their ballots, the frigid temperatures did not keep people away, nor did it dampen their spirits as 623 Democrats and 173 Republicans voted between 6 a.m. and noon.