Could W.Va.'s 'Bernie People' Become 'Hillary People'?

Apr 27, 2016

An estimated 6,000 Bernie Sanders supporters attended the Tuesday rally in Huntington, standing in line for hours to see the Democratic candidate for president. 

Marshall University students McKenzie Lloyd and Ashley Deem were the first in line Tuesday at the Big Sandy Arena to see Bernie Sanders.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The results Tuesday evening, however, showed Sanders lagging even further behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, winning only one of five state primary elections, but neither Sanders nor his supporters are ready to back out of the race just yet. 

Still, Clinton's nomination appears to be more and more inevitable as voters across the country continue to cast ballots. So, should their candidate lose the race, how will West Virginia's Sanders supporters vote in November?

We asked a few Sanders supporters.

"I'll die before I vote Republican," 28-year-old Dustin Cheney of Charleston said as he waited with a group of friends outside the Big Sandy Arena. He would take Clinton over any Republican nominee.

"I can't get behind a party that can't get behind themselves. They act like babies."

Virginia Dobreff traveled nearly three hours with her 20-year-old son to attend the rally and shared a similar sentiment. A registered Republican, Dobreff said the field of candidates in her party is lacking, pushing her to vote for Sanders.

"I don't agree with everything he says, but we can't all be the same,"  she said. "I think that he is someone I could look up to as a leader because he truly seems to respect people."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at his rally in Huntington Tuesday.
Credit John Minchillo / AP Photo

That respect is not something you find in the Republican field, Dobreff said, but her support won't transfer to Clinton in the fall should she win the party's nomination. Both Dobreff and her son, Andy, said they would write in Sanders before voting for anyone else. 

Ashley Deem, a 19-year-old Marshall University sophomore, also shared some skepticism of a Clinton presidency.

"I've always wanted a female president, but I'd rather have a female president that stands for what I believe and what I think needs to be done rather than just having a female president," she said. 

Deem said she would probably vote for Clinton in the general election in November.