Barry County remains red
4 of 5 voters choose Trump for President
Barry County voters made their voices heard at the polls on Tuesday, turning a red wave more into a red tsunami when it came to GOP support.
In total, 15,744 out of 22,210 registered voters cast their ballots, a turnout of 70.89 percent. The figure actually did not follow the national trend of higher turnout, as in 2016, 14,830 out of the 10,445 registered voters cast ballot, equalling a 72.54 percent turnout.
The number of absentee ballots in this election, either cast by mail or at the courthouse in advance of Nov. 3, more than doubled in this pandemic year, rising from 1,464 in 2016 to 3,509.
President Donald Trump raked in the Barry County votes, earning 12,425 this year (79.66 percent), compared to 11,427 (77.67 percent) in 2016.
As a percentage basis, support for the Trump-Pence ticket increased in every precinct, ranging from a low of 70 percent in Monett City to a high of 88 percent in Exeter. In 2016, Monett had the lowest amount at 67 percent and Kings Prairie/Pleasant Ridge had the highest at nearly 86 percent.
The Democratic nominee stayed fairly constant, with President-Elect Joe Biden garnering 2,948 votes (18.9 percent) this year, compared to 2016 Sen. Hillary Clinton earning 2,710 (18.42 percent). Support for the Biden-Harris ticket ranged from an 11 percent low in Ozark/Crane Creek to nearly 28 percent in Monett City.
Votes for Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Constitution Party candidate Don Blankenship generated 225 votes, compared to 467 votes for candidates from those three parties in 2016. The largest number of those (39) came from Monett City. That was also the case in 2016, when the other parties received 69 votes in Monett City.
Turnout shifted in several precincts. Cassville city and rural, which both had 2,473 votes in 2016, only turned out 1,808 votes in 2020. Likewise, Monett city vote at 49 percent fell from nearly 58 percent in 2016, turning out 1,667 or 129 votes less than four years ago.
The only precincts showing a higher turnout than in 2016 were Ozark/Crane Creek (+34), Roaring River (+39), Seligman (+20).
Support for the GOP governor candidate saw a big spike in the county. Gov. Mike Parson earned 12,356 votes (79.58 percent) from Barry County residents this year, compared to 2016 candidate Eric Greitens tallying 9,942 votes (68.04 percent in 2016. Parson carried every precinct, from a low of 71 percent in Monett to a high of 87 percent in both Exeter and Ozark/Crane Creek. Democrat Nicole Galloway had her strongest support in Monett city with 437 or 26.5 percent.
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, in his bid for reelection after being appointed to the position in 2019, may have received the largest-ever support from Barry Countians for a statewide candidate. His 12,962 votes equaled 84.11 percent of the votes cast for Treasurer. Support for Fitzpatrick ranged from a low of 75 percent in Monett city to a high of 89 percent in Jenkins.
Two Constitutional amendments were also on the ballot, and Barry County voted in line with one, but not with the other. For Amendment 1, voters approved by a 51-49 margin, though 699 voters did not make a selection one way or the other. Statewide, the Amendment failed, 49-51. It carried in 13 precincts in the county, including Cassville and Monett. Precincts opposing the amendment were Exeter, Roaring River and Seligman.
For Amendment 3, voters approved the measure by a 63-37 margin, and 589 voters did not make a selection. Statewide, the Amendment was approved 51-49. It carried in every Barry County precinct.
District 158 State Representative
Incumbent Scott Cupps, R-Shell Knob, easily carried the county in his bid for reelection to the seat previously held by Fitzpatrick and won by Cupps in a 2019 special election.
Ballots for Cupps totaled 12,962 (12,408 in Barry, 417 in Lawrence and 137 in Stone), while those for McKinney numbered 2,971 (2,845 in Barry, 111 in Lawrence and 15 in Stone).
The lowest level of support for Cupps in Barry County was in the Monett City precinct, where he still managed to get 72.22 percent of the vote. A total of 14 of the 17 precincts in the county voted for Cupps at an 80-20 margin or higher, the highest being in Ozark/Crane Creek, which came in at 88.05 percent.
Challenger Brenda McKinney, D-Seligman, polled best in Monett City with 27.78 percent, but only in Roaring River and absentee ballots did she eclipse a 20 percent mark.
Challenger and Republican Gene Robbins, of Exeter, likely benefitted from the wave of red supporters, as he ousted three-term incumbent and Democrat Wayne Hendrix, of Cassville, by a 59-41 margin.
Robbins won every precinct, with his highest support coming in Shell Knob at 71.63 percent. His lowest tally was in absentee ballots at 51.31 percent, but that was one of only four precincts in the 9-precinct race where he failed to capture at least 60 percent of the vote.
Hendrix polled best in absentee ballots at 48.69 percent, and in the Washburn/Ash precinct at 43,15 percent.
In the two largest precincts in the race, Cassville Rural/Mineral and Cassville City, Robbins garnered 56.59 percent and 60.38 percent of the vote, respectively.
In the three-man coroner’s race, winner and incumbent Gary Swearingen, who was appointed by Parson after the death of Jim Fohn, earned 66.77 percent of all votes, more than 7,000 votes ahead of the next opponent.
He had only one precinct in the county not deliver at least 60 percent support, Butterfield/McDonald at 59.69 percent. His biggest win was in Ozark/Crane Creek, where he pulled in 80.24 percent. Six of the 17 precincts delivered 70 percent support or higher.
Donald ‘Skip’ White, who came in second with 3,139 votes, polled best in the Roaring River precinct at 30.49 percent. All other precincts voted for White at rates of 11-23 percent.
Rusty Dilbeck came in third with 1,947 votes. his best showing was in the Monett City precinct with 18.34 percent, and in his home precinct of Butterfield/McDonald, he received 17.18 percent. There were no precincts where he surpassed White in vote counts.
The only local issue on the ballot was in Purdy, asking voters to drop the annual election for city council if no declared races developed from the number of candidates filing. That passed handily 289-197, equaling 68 percent in favor.