'Ode to Joy': Undecided voter finally makes up her mind

Decision to vote for Romney leaves more time to practice the violin.

October 31, 2012

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(WBEZ/Alex Keefe)
Bridget Kerans, an undecided voter no more, poses with her violin.

53-year-old Bridget Kerans almost didn’t have time for an interview before Election Day.

After all, she’s got her job at a suburban library, online college classes, family obligations – not to mention practice time.

“I’ve wanted to do the violin for years,” Kerans said once I’d finally buttonholed her (and her violin) at a Starbucks in Schaumburg, where she lives. She even played a few notes of “Ode to Joy” before starting to talk politics.

Kerans has been one of three undecided voters WBEZ has been following over the past few weeks, to document how they make their final decision about whom to vote for in the 2012 presidential race.

To recap: Kerans was the die-hard Hillary Clinton supporter from 2008 Democratic Parimary, who never got on board with President Barack Obama.

In 2012, she has been pretty gung-ho about Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, a Libertarian icon. She recently emailed me a handmade poster she’d taped to her house, featuring a cartoon Paul dressed in a Superman outfit.

But during the recent presidential debates on TV, Kerans says she saw something in Republican Mitt Romney – something she hadn’t noticed before.

“I’m looking at the face, I’m looking at the eyes. I honest-to-God swear I can see him thinking,” she said as we met over coffee earlier this week. “The gears are going, you know? … And he really – the last time, he made me feel proud.”

Kearns says she was drawn in by Romney’s “Five Point Plan” to right the economy, which his campaign says would cut back on taxes, regulation and government spending.

It’s a big issue for Kerans, who said she still remembers what it felt like to get laid off when her long-time job was outsourced a few years ago.

“I had to start over again in my forties – late 40s,” she said. “And now, you know, I have to do everything, so you just don’t wanna go down that road again.”

Kerans says she’s counting on Romney’s business experience to help create jobs. And she’s also hoping he’ll make the GOP more moderate.

So what happened to Ron Paul?

“I wish he was the one. I really do. I want him so bad,” Kerans said, laughing.

But not bad enough to write in Paul on Tuesday’s ballot, she said. And by the time the coffee’s gone, it sounds like she’s finally made her decision.

“Well, it’s gotten much easier and it’ll be Romney,” she said, when I ask who she’d vote for if she had to decide just then.

Now that she seems to have decided her presidential vote, Kerans can spend more time on other pursuits – like the violin.