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In Ohio, It's Really About the Economy

Voters reeling from job losses and housing troubles will play a key role in the Presidential contest
Abandoned homes in the Slavic Village section of Cleveland
Abandoned homes in the Slavic Village section of Cleveland Billy Delfs

For most of her adult life, Kirsten Heft has voted Republican. A stay-at-home mother of two who lives on the outskirts of Columbus, Heft was raised in a GOP family, and her husband, Brian, a project manager at Motorola (MOT) and a member of the Air Force Reserves, is even more staunchly Republican. She voted twice for George W. Bush, and the GOP always seemed the way to go.

But as Ohio heads into the critical Mar. 4 vote, Heft has decided she'll register to vote in the Democratic primary. Fed up with the struggle to make ends meet on a budget without wiggle room, worried about how they'll manage to save for college for 9-year-old Travis and 7-year-old Robin, and outraged that her sister-in-law, recently diagnosed with cancer, has to worry as much about the cost of treatment as she does about getting better, Heft is going with Illinois Senator Barack Obama. "Thinking about how you're going to pay for your care shouldn't be the first thing on your mind when your doctor shows you your scans," says Heft. "Economic issues are key for me, and I think the Democrats are more interested in doing things that will help get the middle class back on track."