by The Associated Press
2:28 PM CST, December 3, 2012
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Missouri, says she is leaving Congress in February to become the president and chief executive officer for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Emerson announced the plans on Monday, just weeks after she won re-election in the new District 8. An Emerson has represented the region since 1981.
Emerson, 62, first took office in November 1996, replacing her husband, longtime Republican congressman Bill Emerson, after he died of lung cancer in June 1996. She won re-election to a ninth term in November. Her district covers southeastern and south central counties, including many in the KY3/KSPR viewing area.
Before running for her late husband’s seat in 1996, Emerson was a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., including for the National Restaurant Association, and worked in Republican politics. When she won her first full term, she ran as an independent in the general election because Bill Emerson died after the regular filing date for the Republican primary election. On the same day that she won the general election as an independent, she won a special election as a Republican to fill the final two months of her husband's unexpired term.
Emerson married Ron Gladney, an attorney, in 2000.
Once Emerson leaves office, Gov. Jay Nixon will set a date for a special election, which has to be at least 10 weeks after the vacancy occurs. Committees for each political party will choose nominees to run in the election.
The (Cape Girardeau) Southeast Missourian reports several Republicans are interested in being nominated, including former state treasurer Sarah Steelman of Rolla, state Republican Party Executive Director Lloyd Smith, state Rep. Kevin Engler of Farmington, state Rep. Todd Richardson of Cape Girardeau, and Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy.
Bob Parker of Raymondville, who lost to Emerson in Republican primary elections in 2010 and 2012, also is considering trying to get nominated. State Sen. Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau also said he will talk to his family about running after getting calls of support from many people. Crowell is leaving the Senate because of term limits.