West-Central Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton says he’s optimistic he’ll win re-election, despite the fact that Republicans have painted a target on his back.

The Missourinet asked Congressman Skelton what type of campaign he expected in the 4th Congressional District this year.

“A successful one,” Skelton responds. “I’m all over the place, getting a lot of encouragement. And through the years we have made a lot of friends. I understand the district well. I look forward to the campaign. It’s going to be a good race.”

Just as optimistic is his opponent, former State Representative Republican Vicky Hartzler of Harrisonville.

“Our Congressman has given his vote to Nancy Pelosi for Speaker and siding with her 95% of the time,” Hartzler says. “And so they’re (voters) standing up and saying, ‘We deserve better’. So, it’s going to happen, I believe, in November.”

Hartzler’s charge that Skelton has lost touch with the district is nonsense according to the Congressman who has represented the 4th since 1976.

“I’ve always felt it was important to stay close to the people you represent,” Skelton says. “You see, if you stay close to the people, they will stay close to you.”

This has become a national race. US House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio will come to Jefferson City Labor Day Weekend to raise money for Hartzler.

“The Democrats are afraid they’re going to lose this seat and the Republicans see this as an opportunity to get another conservative voice in Washington,” according to Hartzler.

Boehner is to appear at a private residence early Saturday afternoon for the Hartzler fund-raiser.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:20 MP3]