How Duluth voters spell the end of the election: R-e-l-i-e-f

For voters at a variety of Duluth precincts on Election Day, their choices seemed to have more to do with negatives about the candidates they opposed than positives of the candidates they favored. At the Rainbow Senior Center in the Central Hills...

Duluth residents vote at Asbury United Methodist Church late Tuesday afternoon. Steve Kuchera /


For voters at a variety of Duluth precincts on Election Day, their choices seemed to have more to do with negatives about the candidates they opposed than positives of the candidates they favored.

At the Rainbow Senior Center in the Central Hillside (Precinct 17), Delores Williams-Tucker, 73, said she had voted for "Miss Hillary."

"I don't want Trump," said Williams-Tucker, who lives upstairs from the senior center in the Tri Towers. "I can't stand that dirty-mouthed pig. ... I get tired of listening to his garbage mouth."

In the 8th Congressional District race, she chose Democratic incumbent Rick Nolan over Republican challenger Stewart Mills.


"I don't care for Mills," Williams-Tucker said. "I just don't like his attitude on certain things."

Her response to the end of the long election season was one word: "relief."

Eric West, 39, who also voted at Rainbow Senior Center, was more nuanced but came to the same conclusions.

Of Clinton, West said, "I think that she's the most experienced of the two major candidates, and I disagree with a lot of the rhetoric and the attitudes of the other candidate."

West portrayed his vote for Nolan as largely a vote against Mills.

"I think Mills aligned himself so closely with Trump, which I disagreed with."

He's not a single-party voter "in principle," West said, and had thought about voting for Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney in the 2008 and 2012 presidential races. "But this election was different."

West said he has mixed feelings about the election coming to an end.


"Both glad that it's over, but also nervous and concerned about what's going to happen next as far as whether people will come together or whether the divisiveness will continue."


Student voters

On the University of Minnesota Duluth campus - where there was heavy turnout through the day - Max Hershley, a freshman engineering major from Buffalo, Minn., noted how his dad had told him that Tuesday's vote would would be his "first time making really making a difference in the country."

Hershley said he voted for Trump and Mills.

"My entire family is voting Republican," he said. "So those kind of values have been passed on to me, I'd say. I respect what my dad and what my grandpa have to say. They're big into politics. ...

"I'm glad to have it done. I've been thinking about it all day. Everyone's talking about it."

UMD freshman Dillon Moore, 19, a criminology major from Woodbury, Minn., said he was "kinda glad it's over. It's been an entertaining election to say the least.


Moore said he voted for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

"Just because I think the two main candidates - Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump - are very showman-istic and didn't exactly seem seem to speak to me in any political ways. Gary Johnson ... seemed more professional."

To those who might say he "wasted" his vote on a third party, Moore said:

"(It) doesn't matter to me because with my vote, I know that if we get the Libertarian vote to at least around 5 percent, they get more funding, and there's a better chance for them to go and vote in the future and participate in debates and have a higher power in each election."

Moore said he didn't vote in the 8th Congressional District race - or any other race other than president, because he "didn't know much about it."

He wasn't alone.

Isabella Wurm, 19, a UMD freshman studying piano performance, also voted for Clinton but not in other races, because she didn't feel she could make an informed decision.

She had no doubts about voting for Clinton.


"As a woman, I can't vote for Trump. I just disagree with all the things that he's said and his standpoints on things," she said.

Voting in a presidential election for the first time was "really exciting because I feel like I was important, in the sense that I had a say in something that I've never had a say in before," she said.

Sully Pearson of Cottage Grove, Minn., voted in Precinct 13, Mount Olive Lutheran Church in the Endion neighborhood. Pearson, a sophomore studying political science at UMD, was a first-time voter.

"It took me a little longer than I thought it would to fill out the ballot," Pearson said, adding that the action of filling out a ballot made him realize how impactful voting can be.

As the secretary of UMD's College Republicans, Pearson said he voted with his party - Trump for president and Mills for the 8th District race. Pearson cited Trump's family values and morals as his reasons for voting for him.


Lincoln Park, western Duluth

At Precinct 27, the Harrison Community Center in Lincoln Park, Lorin Gade, 53, said he voted for Clinton.


"As things are, with the choices in front of us, she is the one that is most qualified," Gade said.

About the congressional race, he simply said: "Leave that as it is."

He felt good to have it over with, Gade said. "It's over for a lot of people, nationwide."

Also at the Harrison Community Center, Jon Monsen, 35, said he voted for Clinton and Nolan, saying simply that he judged each to be the better candidate.

"I really hope the right things happen, because I'm worried about what else is going to happen," Monsen said of the election's conclusion.

On the sidewalk outside of the community center, Troy Witherill was conducting a personal exit poll. Witherill, who lives in the neighborhood, had set up a card table with a homemade sign attached inviting people to participate in his poll. They filled in paper ballots listing the presidential and congressional candidates and dropped them in the bucket.

About 1 in 10 voters participated, Witherill said, and after the first three hours, they had split on the presidential race: 12 for Clinton and 12 for Trump. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had received one vote.

On the congressional side, Nolan had 13 votes to Mills' 11.


Witherill took a day off from work and was doing the exit poll entirely on his own, he said.

"There's just a lot of talk this year about elections being stolen, so I was just curious to see for myself," Witherill said.

He's an independent voter, Witherill said, and he was being careful to keep his views to himself.

"I try to sit here and say nothing," he said. "I try not to speak unless spoken to."

At Precinct 32, Asbury United Methodist Church in West Duluth, John Rodberg, 64, said he was glad the election was over, and he was clear about whom he voted for - or against.

"I don't like Trump," Rodberg said. "I don't like what Mills stands for."

Carolyn Carlson, 74, declined to say whom she voted for in the presidential race, but said she chose the Republican Mills for Congress.

Carlson saw the bright side at the end of a grueling election season.

"I'm glad we all got to participate in it and say what we think," she said.

Jonathan Carl, 46, said his main reason for voting for Clinton was, "She's been there, she's done that."

Carl said Nolan had done enough to convince him he deserved to remain in Congress.

"He seems to have done some of what he said (he would do)," Carl said. "That's more important to me than a lot of people that just say stuff and then six months later it's a totally different story."

Sandra Skinaway, 50, said she voted for Clinton "because I had no choice."

She voted for Nolan, Skinaway said, "because Mills is for copper sulfide mining. And I'm against that."

She's glad to say goodbye to the election, Skinaway said. "It's been an awful one."

Dianne Engblom also said she was happy it was over. She voted for Trump primarily because of her concern about who would be appointed to the Supreme Court and because of health care, Engblom said. She considers Obamacare a failure and doesn't want the change some are advocating.

"I hate to see us get into single payer," she said. "I believe in competition."

She voted for Mills over Nolan, Engblom said.

"It's easy to say that Nolan has done all these things, but I haven't really seen all that much happening," she said. "And a little fresh blood in the system never hurts anybody. I think Mills will do a very good job."


News Tribune freelancers Kim Schneider and Jimmy Lovrien contributed to this report.

What To Read Next
Get Local