Missouri’s senior Congressman says his re-election bid was swept away by the political tides that turned against Democrats.
West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton has a simple explanation for his defeat on Election Day.
“There’s a tsunami,” Skelton tells reporters, “a political tsunami.”
That tsunami swept 10 Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee, including Skelton, its chairman, off the committee and out of Congress.
“It was a political tsunami. There’s unhappiness across the nation, not just in this area, but throughout. Some were very, very surprised as (was) I,” Skelton says. “My polling was very positive and I fully expected to win.”
Skelton notes that all the Democratic committee members who lost were considered conservative to moderate, the so-called Blue Dog Democrats from the South and Midwest. Skelton says the loss of military-minded Democrats will be a blow to the committee and to Congress. He hopes it doesn’t harm the bi-partisan cooperation that he prized as chairman.
Republican Vicky Hartzler, a former state representative from Harrisonville, defeated Skelton. Skelton first won election to Congress in 1976. He is Missouri’s senior Congressman, who had been seeking his 18th term.
Since his loss, Skelton’s name has been floated as a candidate for Secretary of Defense once Robert Gates steps down as expected. The New York Times listed Skelton among a handful of names under consideration by President Obama as Gates’ replacement. Skelton says Obama called him after his defeat, but Skelton says the president didn’t talk to him about the position.
“I would like to do something positive for our country,” Skelton responds “I think that I have a lot of offer wherever it is. I can’t prejudge where it goes.”
Skelton says he will wait and see what opportunities arise.