It has been more than one-third of a century since people in many of the counties of west central Missouri had a new member of Congress representing them. Missouri’s senior member of Congress has been swept out of office by the Republican tide that has swept across Missouri.

Congressman Skelton at a campaign stop in Jefferson City days before the election. (Photo by Ryan Famuliner)

Former state representative Vicki Hartzler has beaten Congressman Ike Skelton by 12,000 votes, about five percentage points.  She carried 17 of the 25 counties in the fourth congressional district.  Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee was counting on his advocacy for the military giving him a boost in counties housing Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force base.  But he only carried those two counties by about 4,200 votes and only carried his home county of Lafayette by less than 1,700 votes.    

Hartzler says she won because of the message she’ll take to Washington that people are “disgusted” with the Obama administration. 

Skelton remains in Congress and remains chairman of the House Armed Services Committee for another couple of months.  Hartzler heads to Washington in a couple of weeks to go through the training and transition program for new members of Congress.

Skelton says his love affair with Missouri continues, and that he’s instructed his staff to work closely with Hartzler to ensure a smooth transition for the people of Missouri. As chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, he vows to spend his remaining days in office working to protect our men and women in uniform fighting terrorism throughout the world.

Vicki Hartzler talks about her future with BP 5:55 mp3

Congressman Ike Skelton concedes in Lexington [Mp3, 2:27 min.]

Jessica Machetta contributed to this report.