"It was the dirtiest, rottenest campaign ever — and I'm 80 years old," declared Leonard Kornit after he cast his vote at Philadelphia's Kennedy House on Tuesday. For Kornit, Election Day was about sending a message — showing the government that it has to listen to the people.
"They're not following the mandate we gave them," he said.
He described his support for Democratic candidates as "the reconciliation of the will of the people" with the actions of Congress.
Many voters echoed Kornit's sentiments, taking the election as a referendum against President Bush more than as a deliberate choice of one candidate's views over the other.
Judy Goldberg's decision was largely based on her anger with the current administration: "I wanted to make sure our state and our country are anti-Bush."
"It will stop our president from having carte blanche in making decisions," she said, whether it be over the war or tax cuts that benefited the country's wealthiest citizens.
For some voters, the dislike of a particular candidate weighed heavily on their decisions. Fran Wenger bluntly stated, "I did not want Santorum," largely because of his pro-life beliefs.
She extolled Gov. Ed Rendell and State Rep. Babette Josephs, who have been "doing a great job."
Alvin Walcoff also insisted that the mid-term election was a referendum against Bush. "It's a vote against Bush and everything he stands for."
"Unfortunately, this has been a very negative campaign," added Walcoff. "It's been very trying on the public."
Despite all the media blitz, one issue that Kornit wished got more play was health care, which he described as "extremely important."
Lila Roisman also had health care on her mind. She said that there should be a fair system — "for a nation this rich, this supposedly wise."
The issue of fairness seemed to resonate with voters.
Walcoff admitted that the Bush tax cuts have saved him money on his investments, but he does not agree with the policy. "To me, it's unfair that the middle class has taken the brunt," while the upper class gets the breaks, he said. "I don't think it's a fair system."