National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) released the following statement in response to the successful victory by Tea Party favorite Congressman-elect Jason Smith in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District special election.
Congratulations are in order for Jason Smith. The voters in Southeast Missouri spoke loud and clear today that they wanted a leader with a proven record of fighting for pro-growth, commonsense free market principles. Jason Smith is a strong and passionate member of his community who will represent the people of his district well in Washington. I look forward to working with Jason in Congress and continuing to grow our Republican majority in 2014.
Moments ago, Jason Smith took to Twitter to thank his supporters, whom earlier he appealed to on Twitter as well to get out the vote until 7PM CT:
— Jason Smith (@RepJasonSmith) June 5, 2013
Congressman-elect Smith had the full support and endorsement of Sarah Palin, was the Tea Party favorite, and now he is headed to Washington:
Mr. Smith goes to Washington! Congrats @repjasonsmith — stay strong and true to your roots!
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) June 5, 2013
With 286 of 462 precincts reporting, Smith was beating Hodges more than two-to-one, 67 percent to 28 percent, a ratio that has held steady since polls closed at 7 p.m. The district encompasses a huge swath of southeast Missouri, including Jefferson County, Cape Girardeau, the Bootheel and much of the Ozarks.
A bit of background:
The election began when long-time U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, announced her surprise resignation in December and left the House in January, having just easily won re-election in November as the longest-serving member of Missouri’s Congressional delegation. She left to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a Washington, D.C., trade group.
Emerson and her late husband, Rep. Bill Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, together had held the seat for 32 years. Bill Emerson wrested it from the Democrats in 1981, swept in during the first phases of the GOP’s “Reagan Revolution.” Jo Ann Emerson took it over upon Bill’s death in 1996, and held it for 17 more years before her resignation this year.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch commented:
Jo Ann Emerson was viewed as a moderate in Congress. Though she enjoyed permanent popularity at the polls, it was clear that her district had shifted her right in recent years. She bucked her party on issues like her support of embryonic stem cell research and her vote to withdraw troops from Iraq. During the district’s GOP vetting process for a replacement nominee last spring, one candidate after another vowed to move the district’s seat further right.