Red County: Why Jasper County residents say they voted for Trump

A Confederate statue and Jasper County Courthouse in Monticello Square in Jasper County on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
A Confederate statue and Jasper County Courthouse in Monticello Square in Jasper County on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Many Republicans can’t understand how roughly half of Georgia voted for Joe Biden. Many Democrats can’t understand how roughly half of Georgia voted for Donald Trump. To avoid arguments, many also have stopped talking with each other. In this two-story package, we went to the voters themselves in a red county and a blue county to share their perspectives with our readers.

Many Jasper County residents are disappointed about the presidential election. Some take the thought a step further — this year’s election was a hoax and President Donald Trump was the real winner.

About 60 miles southeast of Atlanta, mostly rural Jasper County voted 76% for Trump. A week after the final day of voting, pro-Trump signs were everywhere around the county seat of Monticello, bearing slogans like “Keep America Great” and “No More (expletive).”

Disgust over the election’s outcome was readily apparent. Some reacted angrily when asked to explain why they backed Trump, and some voiced extreme, unproven conspiracy theories. Only about one in every four or five people approached by an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter agreed to discuss the election. Some declined to have their photos taken, including four interviewees in this article.

Many questioned whether the media favored Joe Biden and played a role in Trump’s loss. A Jasper County Sheriff’s Office deputy questioned a reporter interviewing customers in an Ingles parking lot if the article would be slanted and what kind of data it would use, before asking the reporter to leave, citing private property.

Nine Black voters were asked to comment, and all said they voted for Biden. The county’s population of about 14,200 people is 78% White and 21% Black, according to the latest Census data.

ExploreBlue County: Why DeKalb County voters say they voted for Biden

The following comments by Trump voters were edited for length and clarity.

Jami Ragan

Jami Ragan, in a CVS parking lot in Monticello on Nov. 9, 2020, said she voted for Donald Trump because she's worried about losing various freedoms under Joe Biden. (Andy Peters / andy.peters@ajc.com)
Jami Ragan, in a CVS parking lot in Monticello on Nov. 9, 2020, said she voted for Donald Trump because she's worried about losing various freedoms under Joe Biden. (Andy Peters / andy.peters@ajc.com)

Credit: Andy Peters

Credit: Andy Peters

He’s not the best guy in the world, like attitude-wise, but he wants to do what’s best for the country. Abortion is a huge thing. I’m pro-life and Democrats are not in any way whatsoever. Joe Biden I truly believe has some dementia and I just kind of feel sorry for him. Look at the economy and what’s changed in the past four years. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t vote for Trump. Biden just says that anybody who votes for Trump is an idiot. I worry about our freedoms being taken away. It scares me to death, actually. If I don’t want to wear a mask, I shouldn’t have to. We should have total freedom. People say Trump is rude, but so what? Some of the best doctors in the world don’t have the best bedside manner.

Jeff Peebles

Jeff Peebles, owner of an antique store in Monticello, voted for Donald Trump and questioned on Nov. 10 whether the presidential election was marred by fraud. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com
Jeff Peebles, owner of an antique store in Monticello, voted for Donald Trump and questioned on Nov. 10 whether the presidential election was marred by fraud. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com

Credit: Andy Peters

Credit: Andy Peters

The last four years, the (expletive) that Democrats have pulled? How did they get away with that? I mean, where’s justice? If it were you or me, we’d be locked up. People out in Oregon and Washington, tearing up cities, where’s the justice there? Biden is losing his mind. I don’t know if it’s dementia, he’s got something, he’s just stuttering words out. Trump was so far ahead the night of the election, everybody got to go to bed. In Pennsylvania, he was thousands and thousands of votes ahead, then, the next day, it was like, boom. Trump’s not a politician. He’s doing this for the people. He didn’t need the money.

Kimberly Witcher

The economy, number one. I agree with the way he has been running the country and wholeheartedly agree with the stance he’s taken with China and trying to stop other countries from trying to take advantage of us with our trade agreements. He passed criminal justice reform. He has done a lot to try to help every minority community. I don’t see him as being a divisive person whatsoever. I see him trying to do his best while people like Nancy Pelosi are just constantly pushing against him. Our country is a business and I want somebody to run this country like a business, not somebody who runs the country with their emotions. He may not be very tactful, but he does get the job done. We have not had any other countries attack us. He’s made a lot of good headway with North Korea. The whole Russian thing was of course proven to be a hoax. We had a Trump rally on the town square two weekends before the election, and we had people riding around screaming at us, giving us the middle finger. I would never treat somebody like that.

Doug Currie

Doug Currie, owner of the NAPA Auto Parts store in Monticello, said on Nov. 9, 2020, that he voted for Donald Trump because he thinks he did an excellent job managing the pandemic. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com
Doug Currie, owner of the NAPA Auto Parts store in Monticello, said on Nov. 9, 2020, that he voted for Donald Trump because he thinks he did an excellent job managing the pandemic. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com

Credit: Andy Peters

Credit: Andy Peters

Trump has kept every promise that he made unless Congress shut him down. We’ve never had that in my lifetime. There wasn’t an election. There’s been a lot of fraud. Most of the media is just trying to cover it up. Trump did an excellent job on COVID. It’s real, people die from it, but people die from the flu every year. We all know that hospitals, when a guy comes in from a car accident and he tested positive for COVID, they say he died from COVID, not the car accident. I’ve never seen a candidate have as much memorabilia that people wanted to have. I was at a hot rod event in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, there were people lined up at a Trump store to buy stuff. I’ve never seen that kind of loyalty to a person who ran for this office. He’s rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but mostly in his speech. He calls it like he sees it. Most people don’t want to hear it like he sees it.

Christina Emerson

Christina Emerson, standing in an Ingles parking lot in Monticello on Nov. 9, voted for Donald Trump because she believes Kamala Harris is a Muslim, which goes against her Christian values. (Andy Peters / andy.peters@ajc.com)
Christina Emerson, standing in an Ingles parking lot in Monticello on Nov. 9, voted for Donald Trump because she believes Kamala Harris is a Muslim, which goes against her Christian values. (Andy Peters / andy.peters@ajc.com)

Credit: Andy Peters

Credit: Andy Peters

I did not want to vote for Biden, especially since he has Kamala Harris as his running mate. It’s my belief that she is a Muslim and, as a Christian, I do not go with their values. There are a lot of fine Muslims that I know, but I am just very suspicious of her and I want to keep America America. I know people who voted for Biden and they’re voting out of hatred. I didn’t vote out of hatred. If people say (Trump’s) a bad role model, well everybody has bad things in their life that you would hope children would not entertain. One thing about Trump, even his children, they’re hard workers, they’ve done well in life. Sometimes I think he says some stupid stuff, but then haven’t we all? My husband is a really strong supporter of Trump and he thinks there is going to be a civil war. We have food stocked up.

Charles Bramlett

I voted for Trump because of the economy. He reduced oil prices, he reduced unemployment and so forth. He had one of the best economic growth periods during his time. If it hadn’t been for the coronavirus hitting, we’d probably be on top of the world right now. Congress has been the biggest problem we’ve had for the last 10 years. The news media hasn’t helped it a bit. Who made all the money out of this election? The news media cranked it up so they could make more money out of it and I’m a firm believer in that.

Mary Bryan

Mary Bryan, with her dog Muffy in an Ingles parking lot in Monticello on Nov. 9, 2020, said Donald Trump is the best president in the history of the United States. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com
Mary Bryan, with her dog Muffy in an Ingles parking lot in Monticello on Nov. 9, 2020, said Donald Trump is the best president in the history of the United States. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com

Credit: Andy Peters

Credit: Andy Peters

Who do you think I would have voted for? Trump is the best president the United States has ever had. He might not have his wording right, he might not say everything right, but the things he has done for this country in the past four years, that’s why I voted for him. Biden is not going to help this country. We’re going to go downhill because Biden is going to undo a lot of the stuff that Trump has done to make this country better. And I just don’t think this election is over yet.

Pete Middleton

Pete Middleton, at Monticello Deer Processing on Nov. 9, 2020, said he voted for Donald Trump because he has great ideas and gets things accomplished. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com
Pete Middleton, at Monticello Deer Processing on Nov. 9, 2020, said he voted for Donald Trump because he has great ideas and gets things accomplished. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com

Credit: Andy Peters

Credit: Andy Peters

I voted for him because he’s a businessman, not a Washington insider. He’s done more in 47 months than Biden’s done in 47 years. He’s an arrogant guy who can’t be quiet, but he’s got great ideas and he carries out his great ideas. It’s a shame he aggravates everybody, including me, with his constant poor choice of words and making people mad unnecessarily. These housewives and all these lovely ladies can’t handle his arrogance. I’m a farmer and the Chinese tariffs are costing me some money right now, but you’ve got to bite the bullet. His tax cuts were wonderful but equally important were the lack of government regulations. Making the government smaller is a beautiful thing. My own children went off to college and came back brainwashed with socialism and Trump knows this. He’s done something about it.

Krysta Curtis

Biden wanting to stop guns is just ridiculous. Guns are just one of the freedoms of being an American. Trump didn’t take any pay for being president. He didn’t raise taxes. Biden is a little weird, a little strange. I know what I’ve seen online about him. Biden is too soft-spoken. Why do you want a president who’s soft-spoken? You want someone who stands up. Biden is going to remove the ban on Muslims coming into America, I mean, what is that about?

Joel Gaston

Joel Gaston, standing outside Jasper County Lumber Co., in Monticello on Nov. 9, 2020, said he voted for Donald Trump because he would handle the economy better than Joe Biden. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com
Joel Gaston, standing outside Jasper County Lumber Co., in Monticello on Nov. 9, 2020, said he voted for Donald Trump because he would handle the economy better than Joe Biden. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com

Credit: Andy Peters

Credit: Andy Peters

Our country has progressed economically since he’s been in office. He’s not been engaged in a war. We’ve confronted two of the most dangerous countries in the universe, China and Russia. If Trump had not been as distracted with the ploys of the Democrats, he might have done some bigger and better things. You can’t argue with his policies. His tactics and his delivery, I don’t care for, but he’s a New Yorker. What scares me are some of the policies of the Democratic Party. Not renewing licenses to drill oil in the Gulf of Mexico? Well, that’s absurd. Do you want to pay $12 a gallon for gas? If you don’t like Trump personally, look at your 401k, look at the unemployment rate. If he came out with a cure for cancer, some people wouldn’t like it because he came out with it.

Steven Powell

Steven Powell, at the Monticello Ingles on Nov. 10, 2020, said he supported Donald Trump because he supports the right to own guns. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com
Steven Powell, at the Monticello Ingles on Nov. 10, 2020, said he supported Donald Trump because he supports the right to own guns. Photo by Andy Peters, andy.peters@ajc.com

Credit: Andy Peters

Credit: Andy Peters

Trump likes to help people. He pays the money out for the stimulus checks, to make sure everybody gets help. He paid the money for building the wall. He has the memory of a fish. There will be a civil war, especially when they try to take away guns or ammunition. There’s nothing that can bring the two sides together. If someone calls me a Biden supporter, it’s going to be pretty ugly.

John O’Kelley

Trump’s not a politician. He’s a businessman and he’s run this country as a business. I’m not a Democrat and I do not go for anything on the far left, Maxine Waters and Bernie and Schumer, I don’t have any use for them. This country is already in trouble financially and they’re going to carry it further and that’s why I’m so upset about it. What Obama and Biden accomplished was very little. I feel like Trump absolutely accomplished a lot of deals that had gotten neglected for years and years, like the Chinese tariffs, and other countries that are paying their share into protection of their country. I’m really worried about my three grandchildren. There’s really not a bright future for them right this second. If Biden won fair and square and it was legit, then so be it. But I question if those were legit votes. They need to do away with early voting and absentee voting.

Jasper County at a glance

Population: 14,219

2020 presidential vote: 76% Trump / 23% Biden

Household median income: $43,284

Race: White 77.9%; Black 19.5%; Hispanic 4.1%; Asian 0.3%

Bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.8%

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

ExploreBlue County: Why DeKalb County voters say they voted for Biden