California’s presidential primary is just 48 hours away, and that’s a good thing for Golden Staters who want to have an actual say in who the party nominees are. At one point in this already long and arduous campaign, nearly 20 candidates were out on the hustings. Since states began voting in early January, the field has been winnowed to just a few. After Tuesday, Americans will likely know who will represent the Democratic and Republican parties in the Nov. 4 General Election.

Late last month, we sent out our Rob Kuznia to track down ordinary Democrats and Republicans to ask them who they were supporting and why. Just since those interviews, two more candidates — Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani — have abandoned their bids for the White House. We’re including their supporters in this article anyway.

One final note: Noozhawk does not endorse candidates or take political positions. We believe our readers are intelligent and sophisticated enough to draw their own conclusions and make up their own minds if we just present them with facts and information. In return, of course, we want our readers to use Noozhawk as a forum for free speech. We’re happy to host this debate; it’s what genuine community newspapers do — even if there’s no paper involved.

— William M. Macfadyen, Noozhawk founder and publisher.

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In alphabetical order by supporter …

Karla Armendariz: John McCain

Karla Armendariz says she is voting for Republican John McCain primarily for his values.

“His values align with my core values as far as being pro-life, and anti-gay marriage,” said the Carpinteria resident.

Armendariz also said she appreciates the Arizonan’s vast experience in the Senate, as well as his having been a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War.

“He’s definitely got experience in foreign policy,” said Armendariz, who works from home helping several local nonprofit organizations. “I just think he’s probably the most logical choice.”

Mila Gaffney: Barack Obama

Mila Gaffney said she is amazed by Democrat Barack Obama’s ability to galvanize youth.

“Junior high school boys come to my table and say, ‘I want an Obama button,’” the dedicated volunteer said. “High school girls have stepped up to be precinct captains.”

An Air Force veteran and self-described “citizen mommy,” Gaffney said she is also impressed by the diversity she sees at the Illinois senator’s rallies.

“People are changing from the Republican Party so they can vote for Obama,” she said.

Gaffney recently she spent her own money to attend a campaign trip to Nevada.

“This man is inspiring people to step out of themselves,” she said.

Don Gallagher: Mitt Romney

Don Gallagher is supporting Republican Mitt Romney for his emphasis on family values and his leadership experience, both as governor of Massachusetts and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

“I like a guy who has governed, who has managed large budgets,” he said.

A retired head of environmental health, safety and security at Raytheon, Gallagher also appreciates Romney’s support of the Second Amendment, which secures the right to keep and bear arms.

Gallagher acknowledged that Romney has “flip-flopped” on matters relating to gay marriage and abortion, but noted that the candidate’s change of heart came well before the election.

“Everybody is entitled to change his mind,” he said.

Gallagher added that he views McCain to be too much of a military hawk.

“He frightens me, and I’m a former military man,” said Gallagher, who served two terms in Vietnam and is a retired Army colonel.

Sandy Grasso-Boyd: Hillary Clinton

Sandy Grasso-Boyd believes Democrat Hillary Clinton is the only candidate strong enough to withstand what she views to be the Republican “attack machine.”

“She has been through the fire, and because of that she will be able to handle whatever is thrown at her,” said the retired founder and first executive director of the Nonprofit Support Center of Santa Barbara County.

She also believes Clinton is a rubber-hits-the-road leader with a long list of political accomplishments. Clinton, she said, was re-elected to represent New York in the Senate with two-thirds of the popular vote.

When the former first lady recently spoke at UCSB, Grasso-Boyd sat in the fourth row.

“She looked great,” she said. “She spoke very softly, but powerfully. She never looked at any notes.”

Patricia Hiles: John Edwards

Patricia Hiles says she is impressed by the populist mentality of Democrat John Edwards.

“He’s for the workers,” said the retired attorney. “He’s for the redistribution of wealth.”

Hiles said she had always been registered as a member of the Green Party, but was inspired by Edwards to re-register as a Democrat.

“Hillary is too much of an establishment person, and Barack, I don’t know what to expect from him,” she added.

Karen MacDonald: Rudy Giuliani

Karen MacDonald supports Republican Rudy Giuliani because of what she views to be his tough-guy approach on foreign policy, consistency of message and track record as mayor of New York City.

The former East Coast resident said she has seen firsthand the fruits of his urban cleanup effort.

“It (New York City) was a dump back in the early ‘80s,” she said. “Now, you can go to Times Square at midnight with your children and do not have to be afraid.”

A self-described fulltime homemaker, MacDonald conceded that Giuliani might not be a “strict Ronald Reagan conservative,” referring to his not-so-conservative stance on abortion, and the gun-control laws he enacted in New York.

But “he’s the one who’s going to keep us safe from the terrorists,” she said. “He’s the one who’s going to scare those bad guys over there in the Middle East.”

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Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. For questions and more information, contact the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.

Rob Kuznia, Noozhawk Staff Writer

— Noozhawk staff writer Rob Kuznia can be reached at