U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson received 75 percent of the vote in the 8th District, which spans 30 southeast and southern Missouri counties. The outcome of a contest with Democrat Jack Rushin, a Poplar Bluff, Mo., chiropractor, and Libertarian Rick Vandeven has now earned Emerson a 10th term.
"Hopefully it's a reflection of the fact that I take my job very seriously, and try to represent all of the folks in our district whether or not they vote for me or are of the same party," Emerson said Tuesday after the race was called.
Rushin received 21.7 percent of the vote with around half of precincts reporting at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Vandeven had garnered 3.8 percent.
Emerson's margin in Tuesday's race beat the 2010 contest with Democrat Tommy Sowers by 10 percentage points. Her supporters, like Shirley Young of Scott City, say Emerson's popularity in the district comes from her ability to connect with her constituents, and not just from her fairly conservative positions.
"She's very receptive to people," Young said. "She pays attention when you ask her a question and she gives you an answer. She follows up, and we like that."
Emerson said Tuesday that before the end of the year her focus will be on the completion of a new farm bill. Not authorizing a new bill this year has resulted in the expiration of 34 USDA programs. Emerson also said she wants to Congress deal with narrowing down over 200 tax breaks and continuing to work on the budget.
Above all, Emerson said, she wants to see Congress effectively work together.
"We're going to have to find some kind of common ground, regardless of who is elected president, because the country is too important to have politics interfere in it," she said.
Rushin called Emerson's campaign to concede the race just after 10 p.m. Tuesday.