Voters turned out in large numbers from the get-go Tuesday in the Tri-State Area.

What follows is a sampling of voter comments about their votes in the midterm election.

In Joplin in Jasper County, Republican candidates were favored by a couple of voters who were questioned at the polling place at Generations Free Will Baptist Church, 2301 S. Connecticut Ave.

Shirley Heeney said she voted for all the Republican candidates on the ballot, including John Bartosh, incumbent candidate for presiding county commissioner, and Billy Long, candidate for the U.S. House from Missouri’s 7th District.

“We need to shake things up,” said Heeney, who said she is semiretired and works part time at Wal-Mart.

Leon Noland, who is retired, said he could not recall his choice for presiding commissioner, but he said he voted for Long in the House race.

“I’m not going to say,” he replied when asked why Long was his selection.

No one was waiting in line, but there was a steady stream of voters at the precinct Tuesday afternoon. County officials were predicting voter turnout in the county at about 30 percent.

In Neosho in Newton County, voters were turning out in droves. By 2 p.m., the polling station at New-Mac Electric Co-op had received more than 850 ballots.

Michael Stockton, 25, of Neosho, said he voted for Republican Roy Blunt for U.S. senator.

“I mainly vote Republican all the time, just because of issues like abortion and things like that,” said Stockton, who works in retail sales. “Plus anything to counter what Barack Obama is doing is fine with me.”

In Galena in Cherokee County, Kan., the polling place at City Hall was busy at midmorning, with 163 ballots cast by 10:15 a.m.

Bonnie Anderson, 81, a Galena retiree, said she voted for Sam Brownback for Kansas governor. Brownback, a Republican U.S. senator, was running against Democrat Tom Holland for the top state position, which has been in Democratic hands for eight years.

“I thought he’s done a good job in the Senate,” Anderson said of Brownback.

In the 1st District Cherokee County Commission election, Democrat Paul Andrews was challenging incumbent Republican Pat Collins, who has a strong base of support in Galena.

“I voted for Pat Collins,” said Galena resident Gayla Spon, 41, a supervisor at a Joplin restaurant. “He’s been very progressive for our community. He got the streets paved. He does what he can when funds are available. He works for the people.”

In McDonald County, William Fine, 52, a retired U.S. Army adviser from Noel, said by phone that he supported Republican Keith Lindquist in his bid to become the presiding county commissioner.

“I voted for him mainly because I know him and because he’s Republican,” Fine said.

Fine said he tends to vote Republican, but he is not a straight party line voter and will support Democrats in selected races. But the County Commission race was not one of those, he said.

Brenda Meador, 55, of Anderson, was heading to the polls shortly before 5 p.m. The high school paraprofessional said she tends to vote Republican in state and national races, although she will support Democrats from time to time in races on the local government level.

As for the circuit clerk race in McDonald County this election, she was not prepared to cross party lines, she said. She intended to vote for Jennifer Mikeska, the Republican candidate.

“I’m probably less familiar with her than just about any of the others (Republicans on the ballot),” Meador said.

But she also did not know Democratic candidate Dee Anne Evenson, which left her inclined to stick with the Republican option, Meador said.

In Oklahoma, voters in Ottawa County went to the polls to decide — among other races and issues — who they wanted in the governor’s seat and to represent them in the U.S. House.

Jay Calan, owner of Five Star Equipment Center just outside Miami, said he had been following this year’s midterm election cycle closely and was casting his votes for the most conservative candidates.

In the governor’s race between Republican Mary Fallin and Democrat Jari Askins, Calan said it was an easy choice.

“Mary Fallin,” he said. “She’s more conservative.”

In the U.S. House 2nd District race, he voted for Republican Charles Thompson over the incumbent, Democrat Dan Boren.

“Thompson is a true constitutional conservative,” Calan said.

Dena Anders, owner of the Anders Shoe store in Miami, said she didn’t see any major differences between the candidates in the House race, so she used other criteria to make her selection.

“I was reading about (the candidates) in the newspaper, and they both seemed to agree on everything. But I’m with Thompson,” she said. “I have a good friend who’s doing everything for him. I’ve heard he’s a fine person, so I’m voting for him.”

In Kansas, the Pittsburg Church of Christ was busy early Tuesday afternoon as a steady stream of voters cast their ballots.

On the ballot for Pittsburg residents was a quarter-cent sales tax, to last for five years, that would go toward maintenance and repair of city streets.

Braden Parsons, 18, a student at Fort Scott Community College, said he voted in favor of the sales tax.

“I think it would be good,” he said. “It would make the roads better and city conditions better.”

Voters also were filling two seats on the Crawford County Commission. In District 1, incumbent Republican Bob Kmiec faced Democrat Larry Brunetti. In District 3, Republican Thomas Hayes and Democrat Carl R. Wood were vying for the seat.

Ralph Riches, a retired Pittsburg State University professor, said he voted a straight Republican ticket, which included a vote for Hayes in the commission race.

“I’m interested in a change in local and federal government,” he said of his decision to vote Republican.

Staff writers Susan Redden, Greg Grisolano, Roger McKinney, Scott Meeker, Emily Younker and Jeff Lehr contributed to this report.

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