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In Massachusetts, wide margins of victory for Biden and Trump

In the Massachusetts presidential primaries on Tuesday, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump won clear victories.

Biden won 83% of the Democratic primary vote, although about 9% voted "no preference," with 55% of results in as of 11 p.m.

Trump had received 60% in the Republican primary, with 36% for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, after two-thirds of expected votes were reported.

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The candidates

Massachusetts was among the 15 states voting on Super Tuesday. Polls in the Bay State were open from 7 a.m to 8 p.m.

Registered Democrats, as well as unenrolled voters who pulled a Democratic ballot, chose between Biden, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and self-help author Marianne Williamson. Williamson previously suspended her campaign but last week "unsuspended" it.

Sample ballots are seen on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at the Southwick Senior Center polling place in Southwick, Massachusetts.
Raquel C. Zaldívar
/
New England News Collaborative
Sample ballots are seen on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at the Southwick Senior Center polling place in Southwick, Massachusetts.

Some groups in Massachusetts urged the state's voters to choose "no preference" in the Democratic primary in protest of Biden's policies toward Israel and the war in Gaza.

On the Republican side, Trump was up against Haley. Five other candidates had dropped out but their names remained on the ballot.

Five presidential candidates competed for the Libertarian Party nomination on the Massachusetts ballot.

Massachusetts voters who are not registered with any party may choose any of the three primary ballots.

'Do we need that in the White House?'

In Southwick, 72-year-old Rose Salzer voted for Haley.

"I think she's a little more in touch with the general population, you know, the hard-working people that have put in their time and put in their years," she said. "And they deserve to be served. [A politician should] serve the people instead of serve yourself."

Springfield resident Steve Morin pulled a Republican ballot, but did not say which candidate he picked.

"This one or that one are OK with me," he said, "Whichever one gets in is fine, as long as we can get rid of the current albatross around our neck."

That albatross, he said, is Biden, who he blames for immigration issues. So does William Slack of Southwick, a 75-year-old retired oil truck driver and Trump supporter.

William and Mary Lou Slack stand outside the senior center in Southwick, Massachusetts, where they cast their ballots for the 2024 presidential primary. The economy and the cost of health care are two big issues for them in this election.
Nancy Eve Cohen
/
NEPM
William and Mary Lou Slack stand outside the senior center in Southwick, Massachusetts, where they cast their ballots for the 2024 presidential primary. The economy and the cost of health care are two big issues for them in this election.

"[Trump] turned a lot of things around that were a lot, a lot better, I think, when he was in," he said. "And all of a sudden Biden gets in there and bam, there it goes — the border, the whole nine yards. All these immigrants coming in. They probably need a place, but jeez, you know, you got to take care of at home first."

But his wife voted for Biden. Mary Lou Slack, 70, is retired after working for Head Start.

"He has done some good things. Yes, he's up in age , but so aren't we?" she said. "It's just so confusing to vote for Trump because this one says he did this, this one says he did that. Do we need that in the White House? Not really."

Springfield's Porter Williams also voted for Biden in the Democratic primary.

"I think he would do more for minorities. I think he's done a lot already," he said. "People don't realize some of the stuff he's done...to help the economy — jobs, growth. People don't realize it because they are spending more and getting less, but eventually I think that will turn around."

Porter Williams poses for a portrait after voting on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at the Rebecca Johnson School polling place in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Raquel C. Zaldívar
/
New England News Collaborative
Porter Williams poses for a portrait after voting on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at the Rebecca Johnson School polling place in Springfield, Massachusetts.

'Your vote does count'

Despite a chilly rain lasting much of the day, a steady stream of voters turned up at some polling places in western Massachusetts for the primary.

Marguerite Foster Franklin cast her ballot in Springfield at the Rebecca Johnson School.

"I don't care if its raining, snowing, sleeting, sun is shining, I'm going to come out. It's my responsibility in following my ancestors in voting," she said. "Why would someone not want to vote, saying that my vote doesn't count? Your vote does count."

In Westfield, Cynthia and Michael Langlois cast their ballots at the Munger Hill Elementary School. After voting, they huddled under an umbrella with their great-granddaughter, Adalynn Brennan.

Michael Langlois is retired after working at Costco. He said one issue that gets him to the polls is rising costs.

Poll worker Carol Laughlin, left, helps a voter with their ballot on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at the Southwick Senior Center polling place in Southwick, Massachusetts.
Raquel C. Zaldívar
/
New England News Collaborative
Poll worker Carol Laughlin, left, helps a voter with their ballot on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at the Southwick Senior Center polling place in Southwick, Massachusetts.

"You go by what's going to help us, what's going to help the economy," he said. "I don't know about most people, but I enjoyed paying $1.60 a gallon of gas. I enjoyed paying a dollar-something for eggs."

Immigration is another reason both Michael and Cynthia Langlois voted.

"We have enough of our own, our veterans, to take care of, homeless to take care of. We didn't need all those people coming across the border," said Cynthia Langlois, who is retired from the West Springfield Housing Authority.

Southwick voter Colleen Moren said immigration as well as the economy are big issues for her. A retired English teacher who still substitutes, Moren said she usually votes.

"It's important to have a voice in what's going on," she said. "There's a lot of ... troubles."

Ben Giancola, 69, sported a Marine Corps veteran hat after voting in Southwick. Giancola, who served during the Vietnam War and is a retired insurance underwriter, said he always votes.

"I believe in democracy, and I think there are certain things that seem to be floating out in the air there about how it's not something we want to do anymore, but I certainly think it's what we're all about," he said. "I'm here to make sure that I have a right to vote and continue that."

Updated: March 5, 2024 at 4:38 PM EST
This story will be updated throughout the day, with additional quotes from voters — and results after the polls close.
Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
Kari Njiiri is a senior reporter and longtime host and producer of "Jazz Safari," a musical journey through the jazz world and beyond, broadcast Saturday nights on NEPM Radio. He's also the local host of NPR’s "All Things Considered."
Sam Hudzik has overseen local news coverage on New England Public Media since 2013. He manages a team of about a dozen full- and part-time reporters and hosts.