Election fever hits Ohio as Irish divided on who will win their vote -- Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?
In Cleveland, Ohio, the Irish are counting down until election day
It’s a cold, wet Friday evening in Olmsted Township, just outside of Cleveland, as hundreds of people gather at the Club for their annual Halloween party.
In the main hall, over two hundred children are dancing along to the live DJ in their Halloween costumes as parents and grandparents look on.
Inside in the main bar area, a hand-carved wooden clock in the shape of Ireland hangs on one side of the bar and an electronic countdown to St Patrick’s Day on the other. Bald Paul and the Irish Blues Band are set up on stage performing ‘Black Velvet Band’.
Mark Owens, one of the 3,000 members of the Club and who was recently naturalized, is looking forward to voting for the first time next Tuesday.
Owens, originally from Derry City, is excited for it all to be over. “The sooner it’s all over the better,” the 35-year-old said.
The election has an impact on Ohio residents’ daily lives.
“You cannot turn on the TV or radio,” Owens said. “There are days you are driving on the highway and it’s shut down because the President has arrived.”
But in the end, there is still a choice to be made.
“I am going to vote for Obama,” the father of two said.
“A lot of it has to do with the fact that my wife is a mental health therapist. Romney’s plan directly affects the funding of her job.”
The State Farm Insurance Field Specialist said his Democratic ties are related to former President Bill Clinton.
“He’s the one who got me here,” Owens told IrishCentral, explaining that he was awarded a George Mitchell Scholarship, which Clinton helped establish.
In a new wing of the Club, a group of seven friends sit playing cards at a large table. The majority of the group have been members for over 40 years. Their biggest election concerns are the economy, Medicare, and Social Security. The election buzz in Cleveland is nothing new.
John Lackey, originally from Co. Cavan, sums up the election in two words: “dirty politics.”
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