President Obama and Governor Romney have touted allegiance to small businesses along the campaign trail in recent months, and tangled over the definition of small business during all three debates. Both candidates have promised to spur job creation and offer tax breaks to those entrepreneurs who need it most.
Finally, Tuesday entrepreneurs are at the polls getting their chance to decide which presidential platform and plan will bring them greater economic certainty and support for the next four years. FOXBusiness.com spoke to several business owners across the country on Election Day to find out who they voted for, and why, in this all-important race.
Chris Hurn, 40, owner of the Businesses Mercantile Capital Corp. and the Kennedy’s All-American Barber Club, said he hopes his vote for Governor Romney will help to end a record of irresponsible behavior in Washington. Hurn is based in Orlando, Fla., and has 85 employees between his two businesses.
“It’s important to have a guy in office who has clearly had success in business, and is a turnaround specialist, at that,” Hurn said. “It’s as simple as that. I think the economy and job creating should be the overriding issue in this election… you need a job to pay the bills first. We can argue about social issues after the fact.”
What’s more, Hurn said he is “cautiously optimistic” the Republican nominee will become president.
“It’s time for a change—let’s try somebody else. I will be surprised if he doesn’t win,” he said. “My dark horse is Wisconsin.”
Thirty-six-year-old Dave Kerpen, founder of Likeable in New York City, said that while he shares the uncertainty many small business owners have weighing over them, his commitment to social issues came first this year.
“I voted for Barack Obama. As a business owner, I am nervous about what Obama will do for my business versus Romney, but as a social liberal, it’s very important to me to protect the ideals and beliefs I hold dear so that outweighs my business considerations,” he said. “I actually think Obama will win, and it won’t be as bad for business as some fear.”
Kerpen founded his company in 2007 and has 60 employees.
Orlando, Fla.-based Tom Cannon, owner of BungoBox, said he voted for Mitt Romney, because he is more willing to reward risk-takers.
“I think the time is right for our economy,” Cannon said. “With his background in business, he knows better than Obama what it takes to spur small business.”
For Orange County, Calif.-based Ash Kumra, founder of DreamItAlive.com, the choice was simple to vote for President Obama in this year’s election.
“The JOBS Act is one of the single-greatest wealth initiatives [for entrepreneurs] to ever hit our country,” Kumra, 31, said. “I can personally attest to my own success during his [term].”
Kumra was the recipient of the Empact100 award, a White House-backed program for the top 100 entrepreneurs across the country under age 30 running companies that made at least $100,000 annually in revenue. He is also the co-leader of the California Chapter of Startup America, another White House initiative.
However, Kumra’s vote doesn’t mean he dislikes the Republican nominee, he said.
“I think Romney is more in line with me, as far as my background,” he said. “But Obama has already done the actions. But, it doesn’t matter who wins in the next four years. As entrepreneurs, we set our own destiny.”