Long lines at Barry County polling places were a sign of increased voter turnout for the Nov. 7 general election. According to unofficial ballot tallies, almost 65 percent of the county's 17,398 registered voters cast ballots on Tuesday.
With only one county office contested in the election, voter interest appeared to be fueled by a tight race between Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Jim Talent and Democrat challenger Claire McCaskill and a highly controversial stem cell research initiative.
Incumbent Cherry Warren was a two-to-one winner over Democrat opponent Georgia Longley-Wennell for the office of Barry County presiding commissioner. Warren received 6,842 votes (66.43 percent) to Longley-Wennell's 3,451 votes. With the approval of voters, Warren earns his fourth term as the presiding commissioner.
Uncontested winners, who are all Republican incumbents, include: Carr Woods, associate circuit judge Division II, 8,478 votes; Craig Williams, circuit clerk, 8,633 votes; Gary Youngblood, county clerk, 8,884 votes; Johnnie Cox, prosecuting attorney, 8,680 votes; Janice Varner, county collector, 9,095 votes; and Lois Lowe, county treasurer, 8,836 votes.
Other uncontested winners were: Robert Wiley, circuit judge of the 39th District, 8,428 votes; and Victor Head, associate circuit court Division I, 8,410 votes. Both these men ran unopposed and will be taking over the offices of retiring judges J. Edward Sweeney and Michael Garrett.
In the election of members for the Barry County 911 Emergency Services Board, Harold Schelin and Bob Lombard were re-elected to the board, garnering 2,576 and 2,551 votes respectively, to beat out challenger Kenneth Whittington, who earned 1,595 votes.
Incumbent board member Mick Epperly also gained another term on the board after he defeated challenger Gary Davis. Epperly tallied 3,496 votes to Davis' 2,023. Bill Shiveley and Leonard Witt were also re-elected to the board. They ran without opposition.
State and federal races
U.S. Senator Jim Talent, U.S. Congressman Roy Blunt, and State Representative David Sater were all winners among Barry County voters.
Talent received 6,510 local votes (59.11 percent) while McCaskill earned 3,903 votes (35.44 percent). Blunt was a big winner, gathering 68.65 percent of the vote (7,527) while Democrat challenger Jack Truman received 3,090 votes.
Sater defeated Democrat Adam Wells, winning 7,673 votes to Wells' 3,102.
Amendments and propositions
Amendment #2, the stem cell research initiative, was defeated in Barry County. A total of 6,625 ballots were cast against the measure and 4,372 in favor of it.
A proposed tobacco tax, Amendment #3, was also a loser among local voters. On that issue, 6,421 voted no and 4,539 voted yes.
Complete election results can be found on page 6 of this week's Cassville Democrat.
The Shell Knob precinct had the highest voter turnout in Barry County with 66.22 percent of registered voters in that area going to the polls.
Other voting precincts whose voter turnout surpassed 60 percent included: Butterfield, 62.27 percent; Cassville-City, 62.74 percent; Crane Creek, 63.04 percent; Golden, 64.59 percent; Jenkins, 64.40 percent; Kings Prairie/Pleasant Ridge, 63.33 percent; Ozark, 62.74 percent; Roaring River, 64.06 percent; and Wheaton, 60.30 percent.