Democrats say Romney has taken positions that will make him vulnerable in key regions of the state.
They argue that Romney’s criticism of federal workers, his call for privatizing Amtrak and his support for a budget plan that would cut transportation spending will resonate poorly in voter-rich Northern Virginia. And in the Hampton Roads region, which is heavily dependent on the military, Democrats plan to attack Romney for suggesting last year that veterans could be given vouchers to pay for private health care.
At the polls in Alexandria, Charles Pearcy, 75, a retired military officer who supported Obama in 2008, said he has turned to the GOP because he likes Romney’s competence and leadership.
“He’s been a governor. He saved the Winter Olympics,” Pearcy said. “Although I admire the president, I think Mitt Romney has more experience with these large organizations.”
At Retreat Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, Mary Lou Trache, a paralegal who gave her age as “over 60,” said she voted for Paul because she likes his stance on domestic issues, including bringing down the national debt. “I really admire his character and steadfastness,” she said. “I like [that] what brought him into politics was going off the gold standard.”
Trache doesn’t think Paul has a chance to win the nomination, but she wanted to register her unhappiness with Romney.
“He doesn’t seem as authentic a person,” she said.
At Ida Lee Park in Leesburg, independent Sandi Brown-McCullough said she was disappointed to see such a low turnout. She also said she was “not happy” to support any of the Republicans.
“I am an economic conservative, but I am not conservative socially, and there are things about the Republican candidates’ social views that really distress me,” she said.
Brown-McCullough said she liked Paul the most of the GOP candidates, but she cast her ballot for Romney strictly because he is “the most electable.”
Bolling said it was common for primary voters to complain about ballot choices.
“People are never happy,” he said. “People are always looking for Superman, but there is no Superman. There is no perfect candidate.”
Staff writers Jeremy Borden, Caitlin Gibson, Anita Kumar, Patricia Sullivan and Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.