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Native American Affairs Among Top Concerns For Arizona, Utah and Idaho Voters

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona, Utah and Idaho voters made their choices on presidential candidates Tuesday, saying issues that matter most to them include the minimum wage, medical care for veterans and Native American affairs.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had overwhelming delegate leads heading into the contests, while Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and John Kasich hoped to reverse the sense of inevitability taking hold around the two front-runners.

Here's a look at what voters had to say:

Marie Howard, a 57-year-old Navajo Nation resident, supported Hillary Clinton in Arizona's presidential primary. She believes as president, Clinton would be sympathetic to tribal members.

Howard keeps postcards, an autographed photo and newspaper clippings that remind her of when Clinton visited her reservation and the Grand Canyon long before becoming a presidential contender.

"She's the only one who's been out here trying to make a difference," Howard said.

The Tonalea, Arizona, woman was among thousands of Navajos who were moved off Hopi land in a long-standing property dispute between the tribes. She believes Clinton would work to ensure that all families who were relocated get federal benefits that were offered for moving off their homeland.

Howard also said she hopes Clinton will get on board with Bernie Sanders' plan to provide free college tuition.

Justin Pallister, a 17-year-old from Meridian, Idaho, was eager to participate in his first election Tuesday.

Seventeen-year-olds can caucus in Idaho and several other states as long as they'll turn 18 before the Nov. 8 general election.

Pallister and 10 friends were rooting for a little-known candidate, San Diego businessman Rocky De La Fuente, in Idaho's Democratic presidential caucus.

"He has a low chance of winning so we want to see if we can get him somewhere," Pallister said. "We have to go there and make people change their minds."

If De La Fuente quits the race, Pallister likely will support Bernie Sanders. Pallister's parents, like many of Idaho's established Democrats, are vying for Hillary Clinton. But Pallister likes what Sanders says about raising the minimum wage.

"He seeks equalization for everyone -- for men, women and children and for gay people," Pallister said. "His morals seem to be in the right place, I guess."

Becoming a Trump supporter took some convincing for Daniel Ramirez.

The 28-year-old Phoenix resident said he initially considered the businessman a "sideshow." But eventually, the potential of having a president elected without the help of outside money became Ramirez's priority.

"I had to put on my big boy pants on and say, `There's more to this guy,"' Ramirez said.

But if Trump becomes president, his anti-establishment moxie could come in handy if things go wrong, Ramirez said.

"If we need to impeach him, I suspect it would be a fairly short process," he said.

Brandon Perry of South Jordan, Utah, says he's caucusing for Ted Cruz because he thinks the Texas senator can stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee.

Perry, a 35-year-old real estate developer, says he started out supporting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker but became a Cruz supporter as the field narrowed.

Perry said he thinks Trump is an untrustworthy TV persona who will say whatever it takes to get elected. He said the billionaire tries to stir up people's hate and anger.

"My perception of Trump is that he's morally bankrupt," Perry said.

Perry said he likes John Kasich but the Ohio governor has no chance of winning. He added stopping Trump is the most important issue to him as a voter.

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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