PERRYTON, Texas -- In this thriving corner of the Panhandle, "change" is a political message residents don't much believe in.
Who needs change, voters here say, when the economy is booming, thanks to strong prices for oil and wheat? Unemployment is still under 3%. New businesses are still sprouting along the wide Main Street, where most storefronts are filled and parking is free.
Perryton and surrounding Ochiltree County last week handed John McCain 91.7% of 3,109 votes cast. The lopsided result reflects that "a lot of things that have been going on here we like, and we're not ready for a big change," says Barry Willis, managing director of Alpar Energy, an energy exploration company.
Now, apprehension is in the air in this high-plains town near the Oklahoma border, 120 miles from the nearest city, Amarillo, Texas. "We're very disappointed. Very skeptical," said Theresa Brillhart, chairman of the county Republican Party.
Some people here still can't quite believe that President-elect Barack Obama won the White House; they consider him inexperienced and too liberal. "I had one fellow ask me, 'Has the whole country gone slap dab crazy?," says Jim Hudson, publisher of the Perryton Herald.
You're not the only one asking that question Jim.
The next time you're feeling down about Obama's victory or the prospect of having Al Franken represent you in the US Senate, you might start to think that a place like Perrytown might not be a bad place to call home.
UPDATE-- Tim e-mails to throw a
Might want to think again about Perryton, TX.
"Ochiltree County is one of 46 prohibition or entirely dry counties in the state of Texas."