MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney won the presidential race in Alabama Tuesday night with strong support from voters who are white, older and wealthier.
The Associated Press called the election for Romney shortly after the polls. Exit polling showed that he was the choice of eight out of 10 white voters, seven out of 10 voters of retirement age, and seven out of 10 voters with household incomes topping $50,000 annually. The big break for him was carrying nearly eight out of 10 independent voters.
“There was never any question in my mind,” state Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead.
No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Alabama since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Exit polling showed Democratic incumbent Barack Obama was the favorite with African-American voters and those who feel government should do more to solve problems.
The two other statewide races were much closer. In early returns, Republican Roy Moore took a small lead over Democrat Bob Vance for chief justice, and Republican Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh held an even smaller lead over Democratic incumbent Lucy Baxley for president of the Public Service Commission.
Election officials said voters bombarded the polls, resulting full parking lots and long lines. Voters at the Irondale Senior Citizen Center in Jefferson County reported standing in line three hours. Voters in many place reported 90-minute waits.
In interviews outside polling places, many Romney supporters said they were voting against Obama because of his support of same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
“He doesn’t stand for Christian values,” said 73-year-old retiree Barbara Jordan of Montgomery.
“If he gets elected again this will be a third world country. Obama has been the worst president since Jimmy Carter,” said Paul Jordan, her 73-year-old husband.
Sarah Edwards, a 65-year-old living on disability payments in Clanton, said she was pleased with Obama’s performance and doesn’t blame him for the slow economic recovery.
“Look at what he had when he got there,” she said. “He doesn’t control business. They decide who to hire on their own.”
Asia Mohammad, a 40-year-old sales manager in Montgomery, said she voted for Obama because she sees the economy turning around.
“The deciding factor for me was knowing our president is trying. We have to give him the opportunity to finish what he started,” she said.
In the race for chief justice, citizens said they voted for and voted against Moore because he got kicked out of the chief justice’s job in 2003 for refusing to abide by a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building.
“I voted for Roy Moore because of his religious stand several years ago,” said Martha Hanners, a 70-year-old retired administrative employee from Montgomery.
Mazelle Bowden, a 65-year-old assisted living facility administrator from Montgomery, said she felt the Ten Commandments battle was about promoting Moore politically, and she voted for Vance because of his TV commercials.
“I liked the way he looked and talked, and I liked his children,” she said.
In the race for PSC president, some voters said they supported Baxley because of her long record of public service, including being Alabama’s first female lieutenant governor, but others said the 74-year-old’s health problems, including a stroke in 2006, made them choose Cavanaugh, 46.
“I love Lucy, but she hasn’t been showing up and doing what she’s supposed to be doing because of her situation,” said Bob Howard, a 57-year-old loss prevention officer at a Montgomery home improvement store.