Voters on Tuesday in Southwest Missouri sent seven Republicans to the Missouri General Assembly, five of whom will trek to Jefferson City for the first time.
Term limits were in play in all but one of the seven area legislative races that saw Republicans win by overwhelming majorities. Bill White will move from the House to the Senate — succeeding Ron Richard, of Joplin — while Cody Smith, of Carthage, will return to the House for a second term.
The five other House seats will be filled by freshman legislators.
Senate District 32
Rep. Bill White won with more than 70 percent of the vote in Jasper, Newton and Dade counties, the three counties that encompass the 32nd District. White reaches his term limit in the House this year and will now serve his first term in the Senate.
White defeated Democrat Carolyn McGowan and Green Party candidate Conon Gillis. White's margin of victory in Newton County was 17,105 to 4,489; in Jasper County it was was 28,653 to 10,020; and in Dade County it was 2,625 to 616.
House District 127
Ann Kelley won her race over Democrat Teri Hanna, securing more than percent of the vote, 7,286 to 1,611. The district has territory in Dade, Jasper, Cedar and Barton counties. Her margin of victory in Dade County was 2,741 to 574; in Cedar County 461 to 164; in Jasper County 4,987 to 923; and in Barton County, 4,084 to 873.
House District 159
Republican Dirk Deaton defeated Democrat Jerry Sparks with 81 percent of the vote. Deaton won by a vote margin of 5,250 to 1,212 in McDonald County and by a margin of 3,954 to 836 in Newton County.
House District 160
Neosho Mayor Ben Baker will move up to the Missouri House, defeating Democrat Angela Thomas with 75 percent of the vote. The district is entirely within Newton County, and Baker won by a margin of 10,710 to 3,473.
House District 161
Former Joplin police Chief Lane Roberts secured more than 70 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Elizabeth Lundstrum. Roberts was unopposed in the Republican primary. Roberts won by a margin of 2,316 to 982 in Newton County and by a margin of 5,636 to 2,933 in Jasper County.
House District 162
Bob Bromley, who won the Republican primary by a slim margin, beat Democrat Sarah Hinkle and Green Party candidate Mollie Dyer with more than 65 percent of the vote. The district is mostly in Jasper County, with Bromley winning by a margin of 8,905 to 3,760. In Newton County, Bromley secured 9 votes to Hinkle's 5 votes.
House District 163
Cody Smith, the area's only House incumbent, will retain his seat for a second term. He defeated Democrat Chad Fletcher with 77 percent of the vote, 9,564 to 2,694. The district is entirely within Jasper County.