Trump on minds of voters for both parties in Virginia

Edward De Cristofano, 90, of Woodstock, rechecks his ballet after voting in the presidential primary election Tuesday morning at Central High School in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

RICHMOND (AP) — Donald Trump is on the mind of voters in both parties as Virginians cast ballots for their pick for the Republican and Democratic nominees for president on Super Tuesday.

The limited polling available in Virginia shows Donald Trump ahead in the Republican primary and Hillary Clinton leading in the Democratic race.

Troy Waller, who cast his vote for Trump in Richmond’s Church Hill neighborhood, said the country is need of “shakeup.”

Waller said he likes that Trump is an outsider. “He’s got a different way of looking at things, and he’s an independent thinking guy,” Walker said. “He’s not going to be influenced by anyone else.”

But other Republicans said they were casting votes specifically for candidates they thought had the best chance to beat Trump.

Jim Cahill, a retiree who lives in Chesterfield County, said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has the best chance of beating Trump. But Cahill said he voted for Cruz “reluctantly” — he doesn’t think the senator is a “straight-shooter.”

“I just don’t care for the guy,” Cahill said. “I want to stop Trump.”

Even some Democrats were voting in the Republican primary with an aim to stop Trump. Virginia holds open primaries, in which registered voters can choose to vote in either primary.

Nicole Freed, a disabled 32-year-old Army veteran who served in Iraq, said she cast her primary ballot for Republican Marco Rubio with the simple aim of knocking Donald Trump off the Republican ballot in November.

“I can’t let Trump win,” Freed said.

As for her November vote, the moderate Democrat said she’s conflicted.

“I’m probably going to end up voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election just because — well, I don’t really like her that much, either, but there aren’t any good choices.”

Clinton is competing against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for a win in the Democratic primary.

The Clinton campaign has focused on courting black voters in Virginia, lining up support from most African-American state lawmakers. She’s also relied on the help of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime family friend and confidante.

The state is one of a dozen Super Tuesday contests whose outcomes could go a long way in determining each party’s eventual winner.

Virtually every candidate in both parties made at least one stop in Virginia in the run-up to the primary.

Whoever wins Virginia is likely to bolster the case that he or she can do well in the general election, as the Old Dominion has a diverse electorate and is expected to be a pivotal swing state.

Polls close at 7 p.m.

AP writers Alanna Durkin Richer, Steven Szkotak and Larry O’Dell in Richmond, and Matthew Barakat in northern Virginia contributed to this report.