Burned By Congress This Summer, Some Dem Voters Fired Up On Election Day

11/02/2010 05:34 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Nancy Fury hasn't forgotten Orrin Hatch's insult this summer.

"We should not be giving cash to people who basically are just gonna blow it on drugs," the Utah Republican said when he was pushing to drug-test the jobless.

"Yeah, because I've got enough money to sit at home taking drugs," Fury, 48, told HuffPost. She said she lost her job with a New Jersey power company in 2009. Fury was one of 2.5 million people whose jobless benefits were interrupted during the summer as Hatch and other Senate Republicans held up a reauthorization of unemployment benefits for long-term layoff victims.

Fury and other jobless voters told HuffPost they had the holdup in mind when they went to the polls on Tuesday. Some labor activists have hoped that the laid-off could provide a boost for congressional Democrats.

HuffPost readers: Unemployed in the past year? Voted today? Tell us about it -- email arthur@huffingtonpost.com.

"I typically vote anyways, but the blocking of unemployment extensions has definitely shed some light on some of the candidates," wrote Christy Zvonar of Illinois. Zvonar, 27, said she spent nine months unemployed after losing her job as an accountant in December before she found work. "I will not be voting for anyone who voted to block the extensions in hopes that the same thing will not happen again in the future."

Laid-off engineer Jeff Mandel also said he was "extra motivated" to vote for Democrats in light of the battle over unemployment and Republican attacks on Social Security -- though he said he blamed both parties for the lapse in benefits that put him behind on some of his bills.

"Basically the Republicans were trying to show they were fiscally responsible and all that crap and the Democrats were trying to show how bad the Republicans were, and they both used us as pawns," said Mandel, who lives in Poway, Calif. His job search has been dismal. "The job market's not looking good for a 53-year-old man... I'm sending out resumes for jobs I could do in my sleep."

Tom Draper, who lives in northern Kentucky, told HuffPost that he lost his job as a marketing director in January. He said his unemployment spell didn't much affect his plans to vote and to vote Democrat. "I would vote for a fire hydrant over Rand Paul," he said.

Not every voter irked by congressional dithering on unemployment this summer is now supporting Democrats. Brian Perry of Rumford, R.I. said he's been out of work since he lost his job as a clerk at law firm in 2008. Perry, 53, said he'd applied for janitorial jobs, dishwashing jobs, and nobody wants to hire him. He said he thought the Democrats became "cowardly" about helping people like him who have exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment insurance without finding work. He said he voted Republican.

"I just felt a change was needed in Rhode Island," he said. "What could it hurt to try another party?"