Back in early September, I was interviewing Jason Lineberger, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, about his service in the Vietnam War at his farm just a little to the north of Dallas.

When the interview was concluded, the talk turned briefly to the upcoming election. Aware that Lineberger knows Gaston County as well as anyone and is also as respected as any of its residents, I asked him how he thought the November vote would go.

"If you want to know which party's going to win," Lineberger said, "just go over to U.S. 321 and look at how many trucks are on that road. When there's lots of trucks, the economy's booming, and people vote their pocketbooks."

Well, the highways are indeed filled with trucks, and on Tuesday, Gaston County polling places were filled with voters confirming their support for the Republican Party and its conservative policies at all levels of government.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry brushed aside a challenge from Democrat David Wilson Brown to return to Washington for an eighth term. Come January, however, McHenry will be in the minority on the hill as the Democrats captured control of the House in Tuesday's voting.

Gaston also voted solidly Republican in the races to determine who will represent us in Raleigh.

Incumbent Sen. Kathy Harrington, who represents most of Gaston County, collected more than 60 percent of the vote, and former Shelby Mayor Ted Alexander, who will represent Cleveland and Lincoln counties and a tiny section of Gaston won nearly 70 percent.

The same storyline was repeated in the races for the county's representatives in the North Carolina House. Incumbents John Torbett, Dana Bumgardner, and Kelly Hastings all prevailed easily in their contests against Democratic opponents.

 Some Conclusions

• Gaston remains a solidly conservative, solidly Republican county. The trucks are indeed rolling, the economy is indeed booming, and the majority of voters saw no reason to change course.

• President Donald Trump remains popular in Gaston County. He received 64 percent of the vote here two years ago and I suspect that had his name been on Tuesday's ballot he might well have exceeded that number.

• Even conservatives have given up on the idea that government can restrain people from purchasing and consuming alcohol.

By the same overwhelming margin that they supported Republicans, Gaston voters approved alcohol sales in unincorporated areas of the county.

The sales of beer, wine and mixed drinks and the establishment of ABC stores in unincorporated areas all cruised to easy victories, putting businesses outside of municipal limits on the same footing as those within.

• And finally, we think most Gaston folks, aside from the hard core political junkies, are glad the election is over. We can now take the signs out of the yard, talk about sports races rather than political races, and, most importantly, go back to watching TV without the constant annoying assault of political attack ads.

Bill Poteat, who often looks out The Gazette newsroom window at the trucks on I-85, may be reached at 704-869-1855.