For members of the Tea Party in Howard County, it doesn’t really matter who will be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.
During a rally Thursday attended by approximately 125 people on the steps of the Howard County Courthouse, no matter who there first choice was for president they were united against President Barack Obama.
It could be expected that those in attendance were opposed to Obama’s re-election and were supporting the Tea Party-backed candidacy of Richard Mourdock for the Republican Party’s U.S. Senate nomination.
Stacey Piekarski said Mitt Romney would not have been her first choice for the GOP nomination and she leaned toward Rick Santorum.
“Romney wouldn’t have been my first choice, but because he will be running against Obama, I have to support whoever is running to get him out,” she said. “I was a little disappointed when [Santorum] dropped out, [it] just wasn’t going to happen.”
Gwen Herrick, of Royal Center, said her pick was Newt Gingrich because he is outspoken and tells it like it is.
“Romney was not my first choice, but I would support a pig against Obama,” she said. “I think Romney can do a good job, not as conservative as I would like. [I’m] afraid if he gets elected he will swing back toward the middle.”
“If Obama had governed from the middle I wouldn’t be as bothered as much,” Herrick said. “But he swung so far to the left we have to move to the right to even things out.”
Mathew Turner lost interest in the presidential race once Herman Cain ended his campaign. He said his least favorite candidate is Paul.
“I’ll support whoever is running against Obama,” Turner said. “Anybody but Obama’s mentality at this point.”
Phil Kesnar said he was probably the only Democrat at the rally, stating curiosity brought him to the event.
“I normally work at this time,” he said. “I wanted to see what they have to say.”
Kesnar said he was voting Democrat in the fall.
Mike Eikenberry said he was a Santorum supporter and was disappointed when he ended the campaign.
“It pretty much ruined my day,” he said. “I liked him because he is a Christian and I liked what he had to say. I’ll have to vote for Romney, anybody but Obama.”
Josh Layton said his choice for president is Ron Paul and didn’t know if he would cast a presidential ballot in November.
“Mitt Romney is Obama Lite,” he said. “Something I struggle with: Obama or Obama Lite. If it comes to that and I can’t make a choice, I won’t vote for president.”
Lisa Evans hoped the 2008 GOP candidate John McCain would have run again and for a time leaned toward Santorum.
“I’m really supporting Ron Paul at this point,” she said. “Paul seems to follow the Constitution, which we support. I won’t vote for Obama in a million years.”
The overwhelming majority of those asked were supporting Richard Mourdock in his bid to unseat incumbent Republican Richard Lugar for the Senate nomination on May 8.
“I like Mourdock,” Herrick said. “Mostly because of what Lugar has flip-flopped on in the past; trying to be more conservative and is more liberal than I like.”
Herrick thought Mourdock did very well in the Wednesday debate.
“Lugar surprised me in the fact that he came off more conservative than I believe he is,” she said.
Eikenberry said Lugar is conservative enough for the people of Indiana, but was still supporting Mourdock.
“Lugar has been in there a long time,” he said. “Time for new blood, time for a change.”
Evans said she remains undecided in the Senate race.
“Really don’t care for either one of them,” she said. “But I will vote Republican in the fall.”
• Ken de la Bastide is the Kokomo Tribune enterprise editor. He can be reached at 765-454-8580 or via e-mail at email@example.com