BELMONT - A cheer went up outside the Beech Street Center in Belmont this morning after presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, cast their votes in the town they’ve called home since 1971.
Other voters had lined up outside the senior center before the polls opened, and the Secret Service told reporters that the Republican candidate would have to wait his turn to cast his ballot. But by the time the Romneys arrived around 8:40 a.m., voters had thinned and the couple were nearly alone at the voting machines, as members of the press watched.
The two said hello to election workers, got their ballots and stood side by side as they voted. Mitt cast the 287th vote at the Beech Street Center, Precinct Three. Ann was number 286.
Asked afterward whom he voted for, Romney answered, “I think you know.” Asked how he was feeling, he said “very good, very good.”
A couple of hundred people waited outside the center, most some holding signs for Romney, but some for President Barack Obama, his Democratic challenger. When the Romneys walked out, they were greeted by cheers.
“You’re going to win, Mitt!” someone in the crowd shouted.
The Romneys hugged a couple people outside the door. Someone asked Mitt Romney how he felt about Ohio, a critical state in today’s election for him, and he said very good.
As they pulled away in their motorcade, the crowd cheered and yelled. Even after the candidate had left, cars slowed down outside the polling place, honking support for Romney.
One carload of people shouted “Run Mitt, run!”
Bill Dunham, a member of the Belmont Republican Town Committee, stood by a banner saying “Belmont votes for Mitt and Ann.” Beyond showing support for his candidacy, the sign was meant to welcome the Romneys home, Dunham said. “They have a political side and a business side, but they’re part of the community,” he said.
But not all sign-holders were Romney supporters.
David Sugarman, 17, of Belmont had three signs supporting Obama, including one hanging around his neck. Even though he is too young to vote, the home-schooled student said he hoped the signs would sway other voters to vote for Obama. “I really don’t want Mitt Romney to win,” said Sugarman, who opposes the candidate’s views on gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion, and health care. “I hope that they look at me and don’t see another person holding a sign, but they see the truth.”