Midterm Part IV: Election Season in the Whiteaker

Whiteaker residents lean left as they weigh in on the Republican primaries

By Kalie Wilburn

With the next Republican primary looming in the coming weeks, residents of Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood weighed in on the Republican candidates and gave their predictions for November 2012.

The Republican primaries began in Iowa on Jan. 3 and will continue in Arizona and Michigan Feb. 28 with four front-runners leading the pack in the fight for the Republican nomination. Residents of the Whiteaker took on candidates Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and discussed why not one of them would earn their vote next November.

“I want to vote for a candidate I believe in,” said Jon Terry, 47, owner of Garbanzo Grill. “When I get one of those, I’ll vote for him. Until then, the puppet show goes on. And it can go on without me.”

New Day Bakery in the Whiteaker, where Bill Mahoney has been the owner for the past 22 years.

Other Whiteaker residents shared the same opinion of Terry. Bill Mahoney said that not one candidate, even Obama, stood out to him. Instead, Mahoney, the longtime owner of the Whit’s New Day Bakery, looks to the future generation for government revolution.

“They should rework the system,” Mahoney said.

Mitt Romney is currently leading the primaries with the greatest total number of delegate votes. This, however, is not convincing Whiteaker resident William Rockow.

“Well, he’s the money candidate. He’s the wealthiest one,” Rockow, 26, said. “He’s incapable of relating to the middle class, which is what he is trying to cater to.” Despite his opinion, Rockow predicts that Romney will win the Republican nomination.

Many residents of the Whit also cited their qualms with government-backed corporations. Mahoney said he would support Elizabeth Warren if she ran because she doesn’t support big business.

“She’s for the common people,” he said.

The outlook over the Republican primaries is not positive in the Whiteaker. Rockow said he’d likely leave the country if a Republican candidate was voted into the presidency.

“If any Republican won, it would be symbolic that America as a nation has no future,” Rockow said.

Terry, a self-identified liberal who chooses not to vote, shares this sentiment.

“They’re giving us terrible candidates that nobody, even their own party can’t like,” Terry said.

While the results of Oregon’s Republican primary won’t come out until it takes place in May, some residents of the Whiteaker already have their minds made up. Terry predicts a second Obama win in November despite his personal lack of support for him.

“I love Obama as a human being,”  Terry said. “But as a president, he doesn’t represent my interests.”

Contrary  to Terry’s opinion, Rockow predicted a Republican president in the office. He added that he doesn’t see Obama winning the election again.

Mahoney wasn’t impressed by any candidates and didn’t have any prediction for the elections.

“I think it’s embarrassing to our country. It’s like a dog fight,” Mahoney said.

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