How Boston area executives plan to vote

As with voters across the country, local business leaders are making their election choices based on what they see as the most pressing issues

(Left to right) Seth Priebatsch, chief executive of Scvngr; Veronica Turner, executive vice president of the Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union; and Scott Griffith, chief executive of Zipcar Inc.
(Left to right) Seth Priebatsch, chief executive of Scvngr; Veronica Turner, executive vice president of the Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union; and Scott Griffith, chief executive of Zipcar Inc.

Wall Street is backing Mitt Romney; big technology is behind President Obama. But beyond the donors with the deepest pockets, how are other business leaders, large and small, planning to vote this election?

Small business owners in September were leaning heavily toward Romney — 66 percent vs. 19 percent for Obama — according to a Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business CEO survey. And findings by Manta Media Inc. similarly showed small business owners preferring Romney by a wide margin, although 56 percent thought Obama would win.

The Globe reached out to a number of local executives to ask whom they planned to vote for Tuesday and why, in both the presidential race and the US Senate contest between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren.


They weighed in on the issues they consider most pressing, and their views echoed those heard across the country. Those who are frustrated with the economy, or worried about the nation’s debt, said they are backing Romney. Voters who were most concerned about the cost of health care, job opportunities for middle-class workers, and issues of social justice said they are supporting Obama.


Alan McKim

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Chief executive of Clean Harbors Inc., a Norwell environmental services firm

President: Romney

Senate: Brown

Why: McKim, who voted for Republican John McCain in 2008, said he is voting for Romney because he wants someone with business experience who can manage budgets and financial issues. McKim’s biggest concern is the country’s debt. “I have seven grandchildren and I think about their future, what legacy we’re going to leave behind.”


McKim describes himself as a “big Scott Brown fan” because he is bipartisan. “We are paralyzed. We have this fiscal cliff. We need people to work together.”


Chief executive of Partners HealthCare, the physician and hospital network that owns Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals

Gary Gottlieb

President: Obama

Senate: Warren

Why: Gottlieb said he is a strong advocate of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the federal law that would extend health insurance to nearly all Americans. “I see health care as a social justice issue. The president and professor Warren support this precept.”


Gottlieb said he was not concerned about the prospect of paying higher taxes to help tackle the nation’s ailing finances. “I also believe I can afford to pay more taxes,” he said.


chief executive of Zipcar Inc., the Cambridge car-sharing company

Scott Griffith

President: Romney

Senate: Brown

Why: Griffith said he was impressed with Brown’s level of engagement in business issues. “I think Scott has done a good job, and I think he’s a guy who’s interested in business.”

He said he considers the presidential race a harder choice, but based his decision on the need to jump-start the US economy: “This is a tough call, but the guy who’s going to get the economy going again, that’s Mitt Romney.”


Chief executive of Scvngr, a Boston mobile gaming and payments start-up

Seth Priebatsch

President: Obama

Senate: Warren

Why: Priebatsch said he’s picking Obama again because “he inherited a car wreck of an economy in 2008, and over the next four years turned it into a car.” It’s no Ferrari, said Priebatsch, “but definitely something that has an engine and can move forward on its own steam.”

He’s siding with Warren “to have an additional Democratic Senate seat to set Obama up for success.”

As a young tech entrepreneur, Priebatsch said he hopes Obama can “continue to improve our education system, powering up our skills specifically in math and science.”


Executive vice president of the Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents 47,000 health care workers in Massachusetts

Veronica Turner

President: Obama

Senate: Warren

Why: Turner voted for Obama in 2008 and said she’s pulling the lever for the president again, as well as for Warren in the senate. Her greatest concern is health care.

“I’m voting for President Obama because I believe that he and Elizabeth Warren are the best choice for health care workers and for urban communities of color.” In addition, she said she believes both have “shown great leadership and understanding the need to create good jobs.”


Global chief executive of iProspect, a digital media firm in Boston

Robert Murray

President: Romney

Senate: Brown

Why: Murray voted for Obama last time, but on Tuesday it will likely be Romney. He said he has “flipped-flopped about three times” because he worries a Republican administration would implement a tax policy that favors business and the wealthy. “We need to have a better plan to tackle the wealth disparity. That’s really why I struggle.”

Murray likes Brown because he doesn’t play partisan politics. “Scott Brown is the kind of guy who reached across the aisle.”

Michael B. Farrell and Shirley Leung of the Globe staff contributed to this story. Beth Healy can be reached at