Photo: Dana Harrington of Holt Street feeling the “Bern.”
Twenty-two Belmont voters were waiting to vote at the door leading into the gym to cast their ballot in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary on Tuesday, March 1.
What was unusual was the voters were in line at the Burbank Elementary, at Precinct 7 whose citizens are known for their leisurely voting practices.
Whether it was the slew of candidates, a national focus on the vote or the beautiful weather, Belmont’s residents came out to vote Monday.
And on a day where nearly three out of five eligible voters went to the polls, Belmont followed the state’s preference for giving its collective nod to Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton in the big races of the day.
Officially, 57 percent of registered voters came out to vote, compared to 23 percent in 2012. Tuesday’s vote was more than the 9,616 votes cast in 2008 when Pres. Obama topped Clinton by 400 votes.
Full results can be found at the Town Clerk’s web page.
Trump was the clear victor among Belmont’s voters who took Republican ballots receiving 1,080 votes, nearly 400 votes better than Ohio Gov. John Kasich (689) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (655). Texas Sen. Ted Cruz received 211 followed by Dr. Ben Carson (43) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (25).
As a percentage, Trump took two of every five Belmont voters (39 percent) compared to a quarter of the electorate who selected Kasich and Rubio.
Statewide, Trump garnered a much wider margin, 49 percent of Massachusetts voters chose the Republican frontrunner. Kasich took in 18 percent and Rubio 17 percent.
“We need a complete overhaul of Washington, and it can’t be done with people who have anything to do with that place,” said a Belmont resident holding a sign for Steven Aylward, the Watertown residents who won the Republican State Committee district position that includes Belmont.
The resident did not want to give his name “since I have to live [in Belmont]” which he called “deciding left of center.”
His opinion of wishing to keep his conservative leanings from his fellow residents was somewhat justified by two voters who were exiting the Burbank school after voting at Precinct 7.
“She’s a Republican?” asked one about a neighbor of theirs. “But she seems so normal!”
Over on the Democrat side, the enthusiasm surrounding the candidacy of socialist populist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could not overcome the establishment’s choice as former senator and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton clearly won Belmont by nearly 1,000 votes, 4,031 to 3,029, or 57 percent to 43 percent.
Clinton’s margin was much closer to the state, as she defeated Sanders with 51 percent of the ballot, as opposed to 48 percent,
“Personal problems aside, Hilary will make a good president,” said Lynne Wright of Cedar Road, a “lifelong Democrat” whose 12-year-old daughter is “a huge Hilary fan.”
“She wants to see a woman President,” said Wright outside Precinct 1 at the Belmont Public Library.
Standing at the traditional “sign holding” site across from the commuter rail tunnel at the intersection of Common and Concord, Dana Harrington was holding a homemade “flaming” sign to go with Bernie Sanders placards.
“I’ve never done this before,” said the Holt Street resident concerning holding a political sign.
“But we have to take back our government from the corporate special interests and [Sanders] is the only one who is saying what needs to be said.”
Over at the Beech Street Center, 22-year-old Isaiah Berson of Harding Avenue said it probably didn’t come as any surprise that someone his age was voting for Sanders.
“I really admire that he’s not a standard politician who is beholden to the corporate infrastructure,” he said. “I have a problem with other candidates who are untrustworthy and whose judgment has been poor.”