By Josh Bergeron and Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Is Rowan County a bellwether for North Carolina?
In Tuesday’s primaries, most of the candidates favored by Rowan County voters also put up winning margins in the state overall. Many of the favored names were familiar: Trump, Clinton, Burr, McCrory and Cooper.
In addition, Rowan County voters supported the Connect NC bonds, which passed statewide.
But sometimes when it came to voting in the presidential primaries, Rowan voters acknowledged it wasn’t easy.
Jennifer Ridgell, who cast her primary ballot in Granite Quarry, said she was “scared.”
“I’m scared about what this country is in for,” she said. “I’m not sure anybody is qualified.”
Ridgell said she ended up choosing “the lesser of the evils.”
Beth Stebe, who voted in Salisbury’s East Ward, said, “I think what’s going on with all these people fighting is crazy, It should not be like that.”
Stebe clarified she was talking about the Republican side.
“I’d rather see people just getting along with each other, no fighting or people getting arrested over protests,” Stebe said.
Felicia Ellis, a Salisbury North Ward voter, said, “I’ll be glad when its over.
“Just the finger-pointing, the bigotry and kid shenanigans. I just don’t like it.”
Ellis said she also was talking about the Republican race.
The presidential primaries captured significant attention from Rowan County voters, as they did statewide. In Rowan, Republican Donald Trump topped his closest rival, Ted Cruz, by a 46 to 37 percent margin.
On the Democratic side, Rowan County voters favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders 52.7 percent to 41.6 percent.
Kathleen Bergeron, a North Ward voter, said Trump “never talks about how he will do something,”
“He always talks about end results,” Bergeron said. “You know, and that sort of makes sense because of his business background.
“If he were a restaurant owner, he’d say he was going to give you the most delicious meal, but if he were a chef, he would tell you how to make it.”
Bergeron had more to say on Trump, who led in Rowan throughout the night as results came in.
“I think he’s unrealistic with what he says he can do, but it’s interesting — the similarities between him and Bernie Sanders. Totally opposite ends of the spectrum, and yet they’re so similar in other ways of recognizing there’s a huge problem with the system itself.
“Their answers to that problem are light years apart.”
Lindsey Griffin, who voted in Salisbury’s East Ward, said she’s a Bernie Sanders supporter.
“I think that he is fighting for the people, and I agree with a lot of (his) views,” she said.
Chance Brown, an East Rowan High senior, said at first he thought the presidential race “got a little out of hand, unlike other years, but I think it’s getting better.”
When asked about Donald Trump, Brown said, “I think he’s interesting. That’s about all I can say. Let’s keep it at that.”
Brittany McGee, also an East Rowan High senior, said she voted for Marco Rubio, who captured only 5.37 percent of the vote in Rowan County and ended up leaving the Republican presidential race Tuesday evening after losing his home state of Florida.
“I think he’s obviously not like Donald Trump,” McGee said of Rubio, “because I just don’t like Donald Trump. I think Donald Trump is immature.”
In the U.S. Senate races in Rowan County, Republican incumbent Richard Burr topped his closest competitor, Greg Brannon, by 63.54 percent to 23.82 percent. On the Democratic side, Deborah K. Ross was favored by 55.2 percent to 18.7 percent over Kevin D. Griffin.
In the gubernatorial races, Rowan Democrats liked Attorney General Roy Cooper over Ken Spaulding by 65.47 percent to 34.53 percent.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, a Catawba College graduate, was favored by Rowan voters over his closest rival, C. Robert Brawley, by 78.2 percent to 15.68 percent.
The Connect NC bonds passed in Rowan County by a 59.89 to 40.11 percent margin.
Others who led their statewide primary races among Rowan County voters included Linda Coleman, N.C. Lieutenant Governor (Democrat); Buck Newton, N.C. Attorney General (Republican); Marcus W. Williams, N.C. Attorney General (Democrat); Steve Troxler, N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture (Republican); Mike Causey, N.C. Commissioner of Insurance (Republican); Mazie Ferguson, N.C. Commissioner of Labor (Democrat); Michael LaPaglia, N.C. Secretary of State (Republican); Mark Johnson, N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction (Republican); June Atkinson, N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction (Democrat); and Dan Blue III, N.C. Treasurer (Democrat).