9 months, 3 weeks ago by Bob Gough
The Eighth Congressional District includes Cape Girardeau and leans heavily Republican
VAN BUREN — State Rep. Jason Smith won the GOP nomination for the Eight Congressional Districton Saturday, when local Republicans held a nominating meeting to select their candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson.
During a committee meeting, 86 voting members narrowed the field of 10 candidates down to Smith in six rounds of voting. Smith, a Salem Republican who serves as Speaker Pro Tem in the Missouri House, led in votes throughout the morning.
“This is a lot for a country boy from Dent County,” Smith said after taking the stage for the first time as the nominee. Holding back tears, Smith said he would fight to win the seat in the upcoming special election because he wants all of the members “to be proud of who your congressman is.”
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and former State Sen. Jason Crowell made it to the final round with Smith, but neither gained more than 20 votes throughout the process. Lloyd Smith, former executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, withdrew his name after the fifth ballot.
The unique nature of the process allowed Smith and the other candidates to meet individually with voters ahead of the nominating meeting. Smith said he put more than 10,000 miles on his car traveling throughout the district, and was able to speak individually with members throughout the process.
During his remarks, Smith fought back tears when lauding the other candidates in the race.
“They all represented themselves with class. I couldn’t have been with a better group of people,” he said.
The Eight Congressional District leans heavily Republican, which could make Smith’s selection tantamount to election.Democrats will soon select a candidate for the June 4 special election.
Emerson resigned earlier this year to serve as CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.