Tags: Jo Ann Emerson

Meet Jason Smith, the Republican Choice in MO-8


The major party candidates for the special House election in Missouri are set.

About a month after winning reelection, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri’s heavily-Republican 8th Congressional District announced she would become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Under Missouri law, there are no special primaries; the county parties selected their nominees. Republicans will run State Rep. Jason Smith, while Democrats will run State Rep. Steve Hodges.

A bit about Smith:

Representative Smith is committed to community involvement and is a member in the following organizations: National Rifle Association, Salem, Steelville and Cuba Chambers of Commerce, Missouri Bar, Farm Bureau, state board member of the Missouri Community Betterment Association, past President and current board member of the Salem FFA Alumni Association, and past board member of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Additionally, he attends his home church, Grace Community Church of Salem, faithfully as a committed member and serves as a Sunday school teacher for the youth.

In a fact that will make a lot of us feel old, he was born the year Ronald Reagan won the presidency.

The district scores a R+8 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index, and includes Cape Girardeau, Rush Limbaugh’s boyhood hometown. The special election is June 4.

Tags: Jason Smith , Jo Ann Emerson , Steve Hodges

Expect Three to Five Special Elections in the Coming Months


I periodically joke that there is no off-season in the world of political campaigns. We are likely to see at least four, and perhaps more, special elections in the coming months:

Illinois 2nd Congressional District, where Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned. A primary will be held February 26 (at this point, no Republicans are running, but eight Democrats have filed papers) and the special general election will be held April 9.

Missouri 8th Congressional District, where Rep. Jo Ann Emerson announced she would resign in February. The date for this special election has not been determined yet; the candidates for Republicans and Democrats will be selected by the party committees.

South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, where Rep. Tim Scott has been appointed the state’s next U.S. Senator. The special election will be held 18 weeks after Scott’s formal resignation from the House, likely setting the special election for May.

Massachusetts Senate: Presuming that President Obama selects John Kerry as his next Secretary of State, Gov. Deval Patrick would appoint  an interim senator to serve until a special election could be held, most likely in May or June. The interim senator would have the option of running in the special election to fill out the remainder of Kerry’s term, which ends in January 2015.

In Hawaii, the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye means that Gov. Neil Ambercrombie will select a replacement to serve until 2014, when a special election is held (the interim senator may and probably will run in the special election). If Ambercrombie selects Rep. Colleen Hanabusa– reportedly the dying wish of the senator – then Hawaii will hold a special election to fill her seat 60 days after she resigns her House office.)

Tags: Colleen Hanabusa , Daniel Inouye , Jesse Jackson Jr. , Jo Ann Emerson , John Kerry , Tim Scott

No Primary for Missouri’s Special U.S. House Election


Meanwhile, down in Missouri, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson announced she would resign her seat in February to become president and CEO of the the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The replacement will be selected in a special House election, but each party’s nominee will be selected by the local party committees: “The Republican nominee will be selected by a committee of 82 GOP officials from southeastern Missouri. The Democratic nominee and any third-party candidates will be selected in a similar way under Missouri’s rules for replacing federal lawmakers who quit before their terms are over.”

Eddy Justice,  the chairman of the Republicans’ 8th Congressional District Committee, issued a statement via e-mail:

“In the upcoming months, the 8th Congressional Republican Committee will nominate a candidate to fill the Congressional Seat in Missouri’s 8th District. To this point, there have been a number of qualified individuals that have expressed interest in receiving that nomination. I have been made aware that there has also been some question about whether I would seek that position. The truth of the matter is that I do not have any interest at this time to seek this seat. As chairman of this committee, my desire is that the process we use to determine the nominee be smooth, fair and transparent. This is my focus and I will do everything in my power to make it happen.”

Erin Ragan of The Southeast Missourian complied the extensive list of local officials expressing interest in the seat:

Past challengers and Republicans in offices small and large floated their names as replacements for Emerson on Monday. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Cape Girardeau native, expressed interest, as did Lloyd Smith, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, whose last bid for office was an attempt at a U.S. Senate seat earlier this year.

State representatives Jason Smith, of Salem, Mo., along with Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Kevin Engler of Farmington, Mo., also floated their names.

Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy was mentioned as a candidate. Cape Girardeau County Associate Circuit Judge Scott Lipke said he’s going to consider putting his name up for nomination, but that he’s not ready to make that decision yet. He’ll need time to pray and consult with family, he said. Late Monday, current state Rep. Wayne Wallingford, who was elected in the August primary to succeed state Sen. Jason Crowell, said he is considering seeking the nomination.

(As many folks on the Right now, Cape Girardeau is Rush Limbaugh’s childhood hometown.)

Whoever is named the GOP nominee will have a good shot of winning the special election and representing the district for a long while. The district scores an R+15 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index and Emerson won with more than 71 percent in 2012.

Tags: Jo Ann Emerson , Missouri , Special Elections

No Senate Bid for Jo Ann Emerson


Jo Ann Emerson’s decision to stay in the House is not really stunning news, and is one of those cases where the NRCC would feel confident about keeping the seat (it’s an R+15 district). But the mild upside of a less crowded primary is that it may be a bit less likely to turn into a demolition derby:

“I gave the matter a significant amount of consideration, talked it over with my family, and consulted with my trusted advisers and staff,” Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, said in a statement, according to media reports. “We talked about what I can do as a junior member of the Senate and what I can do as a senior member of the U.S. House, and I decided the best possible way to serve southern Missouri — as well as the entire state — is from my current post.“

Emerson represents the 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she is chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

Two other Republicans, Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman and Ed Martin, a St. Louis attorney and former chief of staff to Gov. Matt Blunt, plan to run against Democratic incumbent, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. Ann Wagner, former Missouri Republican Party chair and ambassador to Luxembourg under President George W. Bush, said she’s considering running for Senate after losing her bid to become the new Republican National Committee chairman last month.

Conservatives may have mixed feelings about a Senate without Emerson; her lifetime ACU rating is 81.23, but dipped as low as 56 in 2008 and 60 in 2007.

Also note that with Emerson, Rep. Sam Graves, and former senator Jim Talent all turning down bids, McCaskill may look a little tougher to beat than the conventional wisdom would suggest . . .

Tags: Jo Ann Emerson

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