Voters cast ballots in West Virginia's primaries Tuesday, as do Republicans in Nebraska.

  • Lower-stakes West Virginia primary could offer clues to general election challenges for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
  • Bernie Sanders is more liberal than Clinton, yet he still wins among conservative Democrats
  • Ted Cruz says he will reconsider his run if he wins Nebraska's primary
  • Clinton and Trump to battle for coal support in West Virginia in their likely general election matchup
  • Don't get too excited one way or the other about that poll showing close swing-state races

Rural West Virginia is anything but Clinton country

Retired coal miner Gene Stewart didn’t care for his choice in West Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, but his dislike of Hillary Clinton swayed him to vote for Bernie Sanders.

“I have trouble believing her,” Stewart said, a sentiment shared by a fair number of his neighbors in this mountain timber town of just over 500 people.

Deborah Hughes, 63, skipped the presidential primary and voted for Democrats lower on the ballot. She questioned Clinton’s integrity too.

“She’s dishonest,” Hughes said of the former first lady whose comment in March that her energy plans would drive coal out of business sparked weeks of controversy in this mining state. Sanders is favored to defeat her in Tuesday's primary here.

As for the Vermont senator, Hughes said, “He’s a socialist, I’m sorry.”

Heather Pritt, 35, cast her ballot for Sanders shortly after Stewart and Hughes at a community center upstairs from a fire station. Why? “Because he’s not Hillary.”

Pritt, who said she is leaning toward presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in the general election, thinks Clinton lied about the email she kept on a private server when she was secretary of State.

“I believe she deleted what she didn’t want seen,” Pritt said. “There’s a reason they’re not there anymore.”

Retired bank branch manager Joe Sprouse, 65, is another Democrat who skipped the presidential primary contest altogether and plans to vote for Trump in the fall. Sanders makes promises he can’t keep about free college education, he said, and Clinton’s “a bald-faced liar.”

He said he knows she apologized for what she said about coal and promised to help mining communities weather the industry’s demise, but he doesn’t buy it.

“She’s against coal,” he said, “and that’s what’s kept West Virginia going.”

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