WARREN, Michigan — Dave Martinelli said he’s one of the few Republicans working at Chrysler’s massive truck assembly plant in a depressed area of Detroit.
Martinelli said he’ll probably will vote for Mitt Romney in Michigan’s Tuesday GOP presidential primary.
“He’s the hometown guy,” Martinelli said of the former Massachusetts governor who grew up in an affluent community less than a half-hour away.
Unlike many of his co-workers, Martinelli said he’s not concerned about Romney’s personal wealth, estimated at some $250 million, or his privileged background as the son of the state’s former governor.
“I don’t want to vote for somebody who made $70,000 last year. I want to vote for somebody who made $5 million,” Martinelli said, braving a icy wind whipping through an employee parking lot across the street from the plant during the shift change.
Romney, he said, is an accomplished man who not only had a successful career as head of Bain Capitol, a private equity and venture capital firm based in Boston, but also turned around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
All that talk about Romney not understanding the working class, Martinelli said, is “not really true.” He said Romney knows how to earn money and is a big step up from the Republican nominee in the 2008 presidential election, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
McCain, who beat Romney for the GOP nomination four years ago, did not excite Martinelli. This time around, he said, Romney’s latest chief rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, doesn’t have what it takes to win.
“Santorum doesn’t have the fire in his belly,” he said.