Historic Triangle backs Trump

The Republican presidential candidate has been a darling of the Historic Triangle for the past five decades, and Tuesday was no different.

With the fate of his presidential campaign still yet to be determined late Tuesday, Donald Trump took 50 percent (37,173) of the votes in James City and York counties and the city of Williamsburg, according to the state Department of Elections unofficial results. Hillary Clinton took 43 percent (32,113) of the votes, and the remaining candidates split the remaining 7 percent.

Even though Clinton was predicted to win Virginia late Tuesday, Trump was the clear favorite in James City and York counties.

On Tuesday, voters in the Historic Triangle said this presidential election will leave a clear imprint on social issues, although the vitriol felt at the national level wasn't evident at area polling places.

Tammy Dekie thought about her granddaughter before voting at Norge Elementary School.

"That's my biggest pet peeve. I just think women should be treated fair," Dekie said. "It made me say, 'you know what, I got to vote today. Because I have my (5-year-old) granddaughter. I need her to know that she's important, and that she has a right — a voice.'"

Dekie, who voted for Clinton, was also fed up with racial issues that have arisen in this presidential campaign.

"I think it has really damaged the image of America in the eyes of other people, in the other world countries," she said. "We look really sad at this point. So I think we need a change right now."

Trump was attempting to buck a trend in the Old Dominion that has swung Democratic the past two presidential elections.

Virginia's electoral votes had remained firmly in GOP hands until 2008, when Barack Obama won 53 percent of the vote. Prior to Obama's presidency, the state had picked the Republican presidential nominee every four years since 1964 when Democrat Lyndon Johnson steamrolled Barry Goldwater to win the White House.

The Historic Triangle, however, has remained steadily in the GOP's grip. While Williamsburg historically votes Democratic, the more populated James City and York counties have remained Republican strongholds for presidential candidates, according to the state Department of Elections.

In recent presidential races, James City and York counties have turned out close to 40,000 to 33,000 voters, respectively, while Williamsburg voters tend to cast just 7,000 ballots.

On Tuesday, close to 36,000 and 31,000 voters cast ballots in James City and York counties respectively and about 7,600 voters visited polls in Williamsburg, according to unofficial results.

Throughout Election Day voters and electioneers said the mood around polling stations had mostly remained positive.

"The day has been going well. We've had great turnout and everybody's positive," said Christine St. Martin, while standing at Warhill High School. "Everyone's pumped up and hopeful, hopeful for jobs, hopeful for security, closed borders ... We are stronger together."

St. Martin and Claudia Monroe are both Trump supporters who planned to stay at the polling site throughout the day.

St. Martin, a member of the James City County Republican Committee, said she felt a swell of support for Trump from voters at the site.

Pamela Wilson brought her 10-year-old son Marc to vote with her at Hornsby Middle School.

"It went fantastic," said Wilson. "We got our candidate and we're just hoping for a victory."

Charles Sutherland tries to approach each election as an independent voter. This year, though, he was representing the Trump campaign.

"We're looking forward to a good day," said Sutherland Tuesday afternoon as he sat outside of the Stryker Center, in Williamsburg.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe pushed to restore the voting rights of close to 200,000 felons this past summer, in a move that was challenged by Republicans.

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled in the GOP's favor, saying the Democratic governor could not issue a blanket order to restore voting rights in a single order. McAuliffe rebutted the court's ruling by individually ordering the voting rights be returned to 60,000 felons.

"But you never know what's going to happen," Sutherland said, "in particular, since the governor allowed 60,000 felons (to) vote. So we'll see what happens with that."

Staff writers Amanda Williams and Heather Bridges contributed to this report.

Brauchle can be reached by phone at 757-846-4361.

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