Family concerns rule at Pond Branch - DatelineCarolina

SC GOP Primary

Pond Branch voters decide based on family concerns

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Gray skies and rain didn't keep voters away from the Pond Branch precinct Gray skies and rain didn't keep voters away from the Pond Branch precinct

By Mallory Cage

If it weren't for the "Vote Here" sign out front, you might not even know there was an election today. There were no campaign signs, no picketers and only the occasional car or pick-up entering and exiting the gravel parking lot at the Pond Branch Activity Center in Leesville.

But Charles Gunter is 66 and has been voting in the Leesville area his entire life. He says it's always fairly busy and that the community does a good job of turning out, rain or shine, for every election.

People of all ages arrived to vote together, with everyone from grandparents to toddlers brought along.

Gunter came out to vote for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich because he says he'd like to see a change.

"Your cost of living is higher. It just takes everything you make to meet ends," he said. "I think he is the smartest and most qualified."

And that desire for change is what drove many people in the area 20 miles west of Columbia to come out and vote. From 25-year-old Vance Bradley, who voted for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum after consulting with his parents, to Danny and Mundina O'Driscoll who believe Texas Rep. Ron Paul is the only true conservative.

"He's got conservative values on all issues and he's got the constitution as his game plan for everything that he decides," said Mundina O'Driscoll.

Voter turnout was higher than expected Saturday morning. As of 10:30 a.m. over 160 people had voted, compared with a total of 411 for the entire primary day in 2008


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