7 incumbents win Missouri US House races

All seven incumbents in Missouri’s U.S. House delegation have won re-election, while a former state and national Republican leader won the only open seat.

Veteran officeholders Emanuel Cleaver, Sam Graves, Billy Long, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Jo Ann Emerson and William Lacy Clay Jr. each defeated challengers with less name recognition and far fewer campaign resources. And first-term GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler held off challenger Teresa Hensley, the Cass County prosecutor, in the state’s most closely watched contest for the U.S. House of Representatives. Longtime GOP leader Ann Wagner claimed the open 2nd Congressional District seat in suburban St. Louis.

Blaine Luetkemeyer will return to Washington for a third term, this time representing a revamped and renumbered mid-Missouri district.

The St. Elizabeth Republican now hails from the 9th Congressional District. Starting in January, he will represent the 3rd District after defeating Democratic business owner Eric C. Mayer in Tuesday’s general election. Westphalia resident Steven Wilson of the Libertarian Party finished third.

The new district stretches from western St. Charles County to Lake of the Ozarks and now includes Jefferson City, which had been part of the 4th District.

Hartzler is a Harrisonville Republican who rode the tea party’s anti-incumbent wave to a 2010 upset win over longtime Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton. Hensley, from Raymore, had hoped to follow in the steps of Chris Koster, Claire McCaskill and Kenny Hulshof — all ex-prosecutors who moved on to higher offices in Washington or Jefferson City.

As a House freshman in a redrawn district, Hartzler was considered the most vulnerable of the seven congressional incumbents.

While most of her district is solidly Republican, Hensley and her supporters hoped the addition of Columbia after the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional boundaries would give the Democrat an advantage among the college town’s largely liberal voting base.

Hensley started out strong, raising more money than Hartzler in the first few months while attracting outside attention from inside the Beltway. But that fundraising advantage soon evaporated as the expected support from national Democratic campaign committees largely didn’t materialize.

During her campaign, Hensley said she wanted to raise taxes on the millionaires to help reduce the deficit and supports increased investment in wind energy. She held up several of Hartzler’s votes or stances as evidence of the Republican’s obstructionist approach, including a failure by Congress to renew the federal farm bill.

Hartzler, a former teacher and state lawmaker who helped lead the successful fight for a 2004 state ballot measure banning gay marriage, criticized Hensley as a “lifetime lawyer” and said her views are more in line with voters in the district. Like Skelton, Hartzler serves on the House Armed Services Committee, which is a critical post in a district that includes Whiteman Air Force Base and Ft. Leonard Wood.

In Kansas City, former mayor and incumbent Democrat Cleaver defeated Republican Jacob Turk for the fourth consecutive time in Missouri’s 5th District. Cleaver is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Graves, a Tarkio Republican, beat Democrat Kyle Yarber of Gladstone in northwest Missouri’s 6th District. Luetkemeyer won a third term in a revamped 3rd District over Democratic business owner Eric C. Mayer.

Long, a first-term representative from Springfield, topped Democrat Jim Evans of Republic and Libertarian Kevin Craig of Powersite in the 7th District.

And in southeast Missouri, Emerson of Cape Girardeau, the state’s longest-serving member of Congress, won a ninth term with a victory over Poplar Bluff chiropractor Jack Rushin in the 8th Congressional District.

In the race for Missouri’s only open U.S. House seat this year, former state and national GOP leader Ann Wagner claimed the open 2nd Congressional District seat in suburban St. Louis created by Rep. Todd Akin’s decision to run for U.S. Senate. The one-time U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg and co-chair of the Republican National Committee under former President George W. Bush defeated Valley Park Democrat Glenn Koenen.

Both Wagner and Koenen won multi-candidate party primaries in August to advance.

Six-term Congressman William Lacy Clay Jr. has won another two-year stint in Washington, defeating Republican challenger Robyn Hamlin for the second consecutive time in Missouri’s 1st District.

Unofficial results Tuesday night show Clay topping Hamlin, a liberal Republican who supports gay marriage and drug law reform. Hamlin lost to Clay in 2010. Libertarian Robb E. Cunningham finished third.

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