McCain top GOP vote-getter in county

February 5, 2008

Nick LaStrada, president of the Pettis County Young Republicans, was surprised to hear John McCain won the Pettis County Republican primary election Tuesday night.

“I’m actually happy because that’s the guy I voted for,” LaStrada, 22, said. “I’m very surprised he took Pettis County. I thought (Mitt) Romney or (Mike) Huckabee would have taken it.”

McCain got 1,372 votes and Romney came in at 1,226 on Super Tuesday in Pettis County. Voter turnout in Pettis County’s presidential preference primary was “steady,” said County Clerk Pam Doane.

Doane on Monday said turnout would likely hit 25 percent, or about 6,800. Actual turnout came in higher than her prediction with 7,893 total votes cast, or just shy of 29 percent.

“I think that’s a good turnout, Doane said.

That’s up from 9-percent primary turnout in 2004, and higher yet than the 18-percent turnout in 2000.

Carla Young, chairwoman of the Pettis County Republicans, said the McCain win in Pettis County was pretty much what had been projected.

“My position as chairwoman is that this is the will of the people in the county,” Young said. “I have no personal, particular preference. That’s what this country is about: being able to place a vote.”

Young was disappointed by the voter turnout.

“It’s rainy outside, and people know it’s not an actual election so they don’t go out and vote, and that’s sad,” Young said. “We’re very lucky to live in this country and have the opportunity to vote.”

One Johnson County woman was excited to hear that both her men — McCain and Huckabee — were front-runners in the Missouri primaries.

“I think both of those men are very good candidates for president,” Bonnie Pankalla said. “Nationally, they’ve come a long way.”

Pankalla donated $500 to the McCain campaign and $1,000 to the Huckabee campaign, and said she doesn’t think her contributions went to waste.

“I’m very happy they got so many delegates tonight,” she said.

McCain, Pankalla said, is the right man for the presidency “especially if we continue to be involved in the war with the Middle East.”

One Sedalia resident was not surprised at McCain’s victory in the slightest, even though he was rooting for Romney.

“Pettis County has an Air Force base in it, and a lot of military folks voted for him based on his military record,” Eric Lapine, a B-2 pilot at Whiteman Air Force Base, said.