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What N. Dakota voters have to say about 2012 races

Associated Press Modified: November 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm •  Published: November 6, 2012

— "I don't think people realize how bad it really is," said Rick Meier, a 55-year-old Bismarck pawn shop employee and former Republican who voted a straight Democratic ticket. "There are a lot of hungry people out here."

— "I generally vote Republican for president, and the rest of the time I usually vote against the incumbent," said John Matheson, 85, a retiree from Fargo. "I think we're poorly served by some of these people."

— "Rick Berg signed the Grover Norquist agreement and that negated him as a candidate for me," said Carol Preston, 77, of Fargo, referring to the anti-tax advocate who has gotten many Republicans to pledge not to raise taxes. "The people of North Dakota vote for our representatives and senators and I don't think any of them have the right to sign a pledge with Grover Norquist that won't bring in more revenue."

— "I think the Democrats do a better job of looking out for the people than the Republicans do," said Sonny Olson, 53, of Fargo, who works in retail. "The Republicans have an advantage in this state, but I figure if I don't vote, it gives them even more of an edge."

— "The presidential race interested me the most. I voted for Obama," said Tracy Carlson, 31, of Fargo, who works for a law firm. "I think Romney is a little bit on the chauvinistic side."

—"I was raised Democratic. My mother was very, very staunch. I don't think (President Barack Obama) has done that bad. He had a lot to fix when he got in, all of the economy that went downhill for the last eight years," said Pat Stoxen, 60, a registered nurse in Bismarck, who voted for Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp.

—"Most of my family and friends are telling me that's the right choice that needs to be made right now. It was more of a peer thing. I really didn't get the whole lowdown," said Trevor Schmitt, 19, a Bismarck State College student and first-time voter, discussing his support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.