Jo Ann Emerson

Jacob McCleland / KRCU

Updated on February 17 at 12:51 p.m.
 Southeastern Missouri Democrats picked state representative Steve Hodges as their party’s nominee in the special election to fill Jo Ann Emerson’s seat in Congress. Committee members picked Hodges at a meeting Saturday in Poplar Bluff.

Hodges nudged out Todd Mahn, a funeral home director from De Soto and former Blodgett mayor Markel Fitchpatrick.

Hodges said Saturday’s nomination was the easy part.

Jacob McCleland / KRCU

Jason Smith, a 32-year old state representative from Salem, won the Republican nomination for the 8th Congressional District special election at a meeting in Van Buren on Saturday. Smith's nomination took nearly three hours and six rounds of voting.

Emerson Resigns; Special Election Set For June

Jan 23, 2013
U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson
U.S. House of Representatives

Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson officially resigned on Tuesday morning. She submitted her letter of resignation to Governor Jay Nixon and House Speaker John Boehner.

Governor Nixon set a special election for June 4.

“I am honored to serve the people of the Eighth Congressional District since 1996. They are an outstanding example of the very best our American communities have to offer: smart, strong citizens who are always ready to lead,” Emerson said in a written statement. “At a time when the popularity of Congress hovers in the single digits, it has never been more important for us to instill their virtues in our elected representatives.  Congress is the branch of government closest to the people.  We must strive to make it representative of us and our national desire to accomplish great things together.”

Under Missouri state law the state needs at least 10 weeks to set up an election but Missouri Secretary of State spokesperson Liz Abram-Oldham says federal law requires closer to 120 days.

“And that’s just to make that our military personnel, and especially military personnel overseas, and any other Missouri citizens who would be affected by this vote that are overseas, do have the opportunity,” Abram-Oldham said. “We don’t want to disenfranchise anyone just to get someone in office faster.”

Emerson had served Missouri’s 8th Congressional District since 1996. District party committees will select their nominees to run in the special election in the heavily Republican district. Peter Kinder, Lloyd Smith, Sarah Steelman, Todd Richardson and Jason Smith are among a group of thirteen Republicans who are vying for their party’s nomination.

Below is the text of Representative Emerson’s resignation letters to Gov. Nixon and Speaker Boehner. 

Candidates To Replace Emerson Tout Conservative Bonafides

Jan 18, 2013
Jacob McCleland / KRCU

The Republicans who hope to replace Jo Ann Emerson in the U.S. House of Representatives stressed their conservative credentials while trying to differentiate themselves in a crowded field at a voter forum in Cape Girardeau Thursday night.

U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson
U.S. House of Representatives

Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson’s sudden resignation and Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments were the top political stories in southeast Missouri in 2012.

Emerson, a Republican, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996 and won re-election handily every two years. Emerson is the longest-serving member of Missouri’s Congressional delegation and was often considered a moderate voice among a sea of partisanship.