CHICAGO (AP) — The voters who made possible Donald Trump's victory included people who consider themselves moderates and came around to Trump after supporting other candidates.
Some live in the "blue wall" of states in the Upper Midwest that, until Tuesday, backed every Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992. Some voted for Democrats in the past. Some kept their Trump support secret until after the election to avoid scorn from acquaintances and co-workers.
Wisconsin Republican Scott Hiltgen believes politicians in Washington, D.C., “have no idea what’s going on here on Main Street,” and that Donald Trump triumphed Tuesday in part because he is “anybody but Hillary.”
The River Falls business owner says he agrees with Trump’s platform, especially his promises to lower taxes for businesses and his message on border security.
Livestock veterinarian Tim Dawson, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, voted early for Donald Trump, saying he likes his business experience.
He was vaccinating heifers on a ranch near Cheyenne on Election Day.
“Hillary Clinton’s been around about 30 years too long and Donald Trump, even though he’s somewhat of a wild man, I’ll give him credit that he’s survived several economic ups and downs,” said Dawson.
Leatrice Fung, 81, of Honolulu, voted for Jill Stein Tuesday at an elementary school.
“Because I think that the lesser of two evils is still very evil,” she said.
Stein “has vision and morals, which the other two don’t have,” Fung said.
“I feel strongly that if people had enough information about her that she may have won. Now I know she doesn’t have a chance, but I don’t care, I have to vote on my principles,” she said.
Twenty-year-old college junior Cody Kirkpatrick cast his ballot Tuesday in Towson, Maryland. A registered independent, he voted for Clinton.
It wasn’t an easy choice, he said, but emphasized the importance of making his voice heard.
“This election is one of the most important elections of our time,” he said.
EmmaLea Reed said her first election was a little nerve wracking.
The 18-year old high school senior from Tallahassee, Florida, said she was undecided up until the weekend. On Sunday she made a list of the issues that mattered most to he, along with the pros and cons of each candidate. In the end, the list came out favoring Republican Donald Trump.
Martha Rodriguez, who is not registered with a political party, dropped off her mail-in ballot at a drop box in downtown Portland, Oregon on Monday and said she would cry if she awoke on Wednesday morning to find Donald Trump president.
The mother of six immigrated to the United States illegally from Mexico in 1975 and became a citizen only in 1996 after gaining a green card through a 1986 amnesty signed into law by then-President Ronald Reagan.
Rita Kelly came to Highland Colony Baptist Church Tuesday waving a small American flag she keeps as a souvenir from a rally by evangelist Franklin Graham in April. Kelly, also wearing three American flag pins, said that she voted for Donald Trump after talking to a friend who encouraged her to vote for the Republican because of his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Jeff Johnson, 58, of Fresno, California, voted for Donald Trump because the candidate is a Republican like him _ not because he is excited to back him.
“I do not believe any of them are worth a darn in the first place,” said Johnson, a retired heavy industrial mechanic. “I’m just taking the lesser of two evils.”
Johnson said Hillary Clinton in her long political career has proven she isn’t trustworthy. “She lies like a rug,” Johnson said.
Twenty-year-old Jacqueline Lima’s first time voting was heralded by the lively music of a mariachi band.
The group Immigrant Voters Win PAC sent the musical accompaniment to democracy to Lima’s eastern Las Vegas home on Tuesday to make sure she cast her ballot.
Lima voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton and said she feared Republican Donald Trump's immigration proposals.
Watching the start of the debate at Bo's 'N Mine bar and grill in River Falls, Wis., 41-year-old Damon Holter took note when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump again did not shake hands.
"He's just like a little kid," he said when Trump began speaking.
"I heard a lot of the same rhetoric spewed over and over again," said 41-year-old Damon Holter, who makes barbecue sauces and marinades in River Falls, Wisconsin. "I know I need to make a decision. I just don't know how to get there."
Taylor Botwinis of Clinton Township, Michigan, is 26, but this will be the first time she casts a ballot in a presidential election.
Hillary Clinton is a no-go for the home-school mother of three. For Botwinis, the debate was an opportunity to hear more from Donald Trump and decide whether to support the Republican or vote for a third-party candidate.
Botwinis said she'll likely vote for Trump because of his "stances, not his personality."
Alanna Conti, a 25-year-old graphic designer from rural Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania, changed her party registration from independent to Democrat so she could vote for Bernie Sanders.
After he lost the primary, she thought about casting her ballot for Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party candidate Jill Stein. But Conti doesn't want to throw away her vote so she's considering backing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, even though "I dislike both of them very much."
Hussien Kazwini, a community college student in Toledo, Ohio, says this debate was more substantive, but there were no big moments that changed the race.
"Hillary (Clinton) was on the defensive, but I don't think (Donald) Trump made a big splash to change or damage Hillary's momentum,” he said.
He’s still undecided but leaning toward Clinton. He says Trump's comments about women and his demeanor are not huge issues. However, "I want to hold a president to higher standards."
Dave Hart, 39, of Phoenix, is a Democrat torn between voting for Hillary Clinton and a third-party candidate.
Hart started out as a Bernie Sanders supporter and never warmed up toward Clinton. Adamantly opposed to Donald Trump, the debate only cemented his opinion of the GOP nominee.
Matt Alsaeedi, 26, felt refreshed by Hillary Clinton’s authenticity during much of the debate, saying an overall mistrust in government “hurts her as much as it helps her” as a candidate.
The biggest disappointment to Alsaeedi was a lack of discussion of veterans issues.
Alsaeedi remains undecided, saying he was turned off by Clinton’s polished-politician persona.
Erin Ross, a 36-year-old certified nurse midwife, has always voted Republican.
But this might be her first election in which she doesn't cast a presidential vote, and Ross is extremely troubled about that.
Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton is a role model, and the country needs that in a president, said Ross, who watched the debate with her husband, Mike, at their northeast Denver home. She was disappointed in the candidates' lack of civility.
Three weeks before the election, Chadd and Karen Bunker remain among the country's potentially divided households.
Chadd Bunker is registered as a Democrat but describes himself as largely politically apathetic. The undecided voter promised his wife he'd watch the debate with her in their living room, but he monitored her laptop for updates on the Dodgers-Cubs playoff game.
For Justin Harris, both candidates had their moments in the debate, but neither really shined. The 43-year-old father of three said he had hoped to hear more about foreign policy and economic issues and was frustrated when the candidates instead used their time to launch personal attacks.
Missi Fredette, 23, hadn't watched a presidential debate before Wednesday. But after the final face-off, the Charlotte School of Law student says she has settled on voting for Hillary Clinton.
"I would be worried to see where Donald Trump takes our country in the next four years, and I don't think that's a risk I'm willing to take after tonight," said Fredette, of Concord, North Carolina.