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Emerson unexpectedly resigns her Missouri congressional seat

Colleagues and congressional analysts expressed surprise and dismay Monday after learning U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri had decided to quit.

Within minutes, though, the state’s politicians began pondering the race to replace her.

Emerson, a 62-year-old Republican from Cape Girardeau, announced her retirement less than a month after southeast Missouri voters overwhelmingly elected her for the 9th time. She’ll become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in March.

“Our district has earned its reputation for commonsense above all else, and I will leave Congress in February with a heavy heart,” she said in a statement.

Emerson is considered one of the most moderate members of the Republican caucus. Her departure reflects the continued polarization of the House, some observers said.

“This is not a comfortable body any more for people like Jo Ann Emerson,” said Norm Ornstein, a political scholar with the American Enterprise Institute. “So leaving for a good job outside Congress is a logical, if depressing, step.”

Colleagues paid her tribute throughout the day. “Jo Ann is a middle of the road moderate — an approach I know firsthand can sometimes be a lonely one,” said a statement from Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.

“I know that Jo Ann will continue serving Missourians in (her) new role,” said GOP Sen. Roy Blunt.

Emerson’s predecessor was her husband Bill, who died in office.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Emerson waited until just after the November election to make her decision.

Gov. Jay Nixon, who also praised Emerson Monday, must now call a special election for the seat. A spokesman said the governor hasn’t picked a date.

There won’t be a primary — the parties will pick nominees, and candidates are already lining up. Among those thinking about the race: Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former senate candidate Sarah Steelman, and Republican party director Lloyd Smith.

by Anonymousreply 812/04/2012

Could her seat be in play, Missourans?

by Anonymousreply 112/03/2012

I was wondering why she bothered to run for re-election and realized the state party probably forced her to because she'd be a sure victory in their column. Having a female moderate win at the time that Akin was flying off the banana peel is probably very meaningful to state and national Republicans.

What does this mean now? Is the Cape Girardeau area capable of electing another moderate or will this create a vacuum for the tea party nutters to fill?

by Anonymousreply 212/03/2012

Let's see, from that part of Missouri they'll elect either a Jesus freak fundy, or a meth addled freak. There are rapid, mouth breathing Catholics, but they are pretty much in the northern part of the state.

Except for certain pockets of sanity in KSC, STL and Columbia, those are the types of people who populate MO today.

by Anonymousreply 312/03/2012

Isn't Rush Limbaugh from Cape Girardeau?

by Anonymousreply 412/03/2012

16 years in congress and no committee seat? Would that have something to do with it?

by Anonymousreply 512/03/2012

Yes, Limberger likes to ramble about watching the ocean liners coming into port in Cape Girardeau, MO.

by Anonymousreply 612/03/2012

She's on the Appropriations Committee

by Anonymousreply 712/03/2012

I'd like to know what she was thinking.

by Anonymousreply 812/04/2012
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