Republican John Conaway knows he's not going to get what he wants in the April 24 primary.
At this point, he's looking for the 4th Congressional District Republican candidate who's "least offensive," he said.
The Spring Garden Township resident feels alienated by a party that has drifted "too far right" on social issues and "panders to the wealthy," he said.
Rod Smith lives about 20 minutes away in West Manchester Township and faces a similar dilemma. He's a registered Democrat and a fiscal conservative.
"I do understand when I want things I have to pay for them," he said. "I have no mortgage or car payment. But I'm not a tea party nut, so I guess I'm liberal."
Neither man fits into the conservative/liberal paradigm created by the two-party system, and both men present an opportunity for a 4th Congressional District candidate who falls in the middle.
Big names: While Smith recently decided to vote for Democrat Harry Perkinson, Conaway is one of 121 undecided Republican voters among The York Dispatch's poll of 400 people who intend to vote in the
April 24 primary.
In the districtwide telephone poll, conducted April 5-10 by York Township-based Polk-Lepson Research Group, 56.5 percent of all Republican and 84.9 percent of all Democratic respondents were undecided.
A breakdown of the numbers showed Republicans who identified themselves as moderate and liberal were most likely to be undecided.
Democrats of all categories were undecided, which politicos have attributed to the lack of a "big name" among the two newcomer candidates, Perkinson and Ken Lee.
The two are also running low-budget campaigns. Smith said he learned about the men from reading newspapers and hasn't received literature from either.
Cut and dried: The choice is more clear-cut for conservative Republicans like Raymond Selepack, an 83-year-old from Manheim Township.
He said he'll vote "anybody but Obama" in the general election, and York County Commissioner Chris Reilly is likely to get his vote in the primary.
"It looks like he might be the one," Selepack said. "I don't know too much about him, but he sent some brochures."
Selepack likes that Reilly says he's conservative, and he's hoping Reilly's the candidate whose views will align with his. Of importance are a strong military and border security, creating jobs and reducing regulations, Selepack said.
"This government's regulations are getting ridiculous," he said. "The government is tying everybody up in a knot."
The poll showed Reilly has big support in older, male conservative Republicans like Selepack and Jack Stuckey, 81, of Dover Township.
Stuckey said he was undecided but recently chose Reilly because he's a conservative.
"I'd like to see an elected official who can run a budget, and he has done a fair job for the county," Stuckey said. "The political cry is 'We need more money,' and I think it should be 'We don't need to waste money.'"
He said he supports Reilly's call to repeal "Obamacare," health care reform.
"I'd like to get rid of the damned thing," he said. "We're doing fine. We don't need it."
Nowhere to go: But more liberal Republicans like Conaway said the conservative movement is the reason they can't support one of the seven Republican candidates, all of whom have said they're conservative.
"I don't think any of them are qualified," Conaway said. "Social issues are very important. It seems the Republicans want to run over the poor and the uneducated and support whatever they support. They seem more like pandering to the far right, the wealthy, at the expense of education."
A 67-year-old semi-retired design engineer, he said he registered Republican "back when they were rational, back in the '60s and '70s when things were a little more even-keeled and things could go to the middle. They're moving farther and father to the right. The tea party is the ultimate turn-off as far as I'm concerned, and the (term) 'compassionate conservative' is a farce anymore."
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at 505-5436, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter at @YDYorkCounty.