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Missouri - 4th District

Incumbent -- Ike Skelton (D) ; Defeated by Vicky Hartzler, R, in general election on November 2, 2010

Race Ratings Key

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Skelton was first elected in 1976 and last dropped below 60 percent of the vote in 1982 after redistricting forced him to face another incumbent. Nonetheless, Skelton prepared for a tough fight in 2010, raising almost $2 million by mid-July for his battle against Republican Vicky Hartzler.

A former state Representative, Hartzler was named to the top tier of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Guns program in mid-September. Known for her conservative views on social issues, Hartzler served as a spokeswoman for the Missouri Coalition to Preserve Marriage leading up to a 2005 referendum on same-sex marriage. She and Skelton shared an endorsement from Missouri Right to Life.

Skelton has emphasized his power as Armed Services chairman, promoting his work on behalf of veterans and the district's two bases. He touted endorsements from a former commander at Fort Leonard Wood and the VFW and questioned Hartzler's willingness and ability to do the same kind of work.

At this point, Democrats think Skelton is likely to hold on. But if the size of the expected GOP wave grows larger near Election Day, incumbents like Skelton are going to find it difficult to hang on.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

With the exception of some southeast Kansas City suburbs, the state capital of Jefferson City and midsize Sedalia, the 4th District typifies rural and small-town Missouri. It is laden with lakes, rivers and farmland, and the 4th's northern border is formed in part by the Missouri River.

Agriculture has been an economic mainstay here for decades, and most residents work in small-scale farming. Others work for manufacturers of household goods, and tourism helps rural areas. With miles of shoreline, modern hotels and retail outlets, the Lake of the Ozarks region (shared with the 9th) attracts boaters and shoppers. The lake areas also draw retirees and professionals looking to set up second homes.

The 4th's piece of the Kansas City suburbs has not grown as fast as the area north of the city (in the 6th) and is not as affluent, but does provide some blue-collar manufacturing jobs. Moving east, the district picks up growing Warrensburg and Sedalia, where the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival is held each June. State government employs more than 15,000 people in Jefferson City.

Voters in the 4th tend to be conservative, but sent a Democrat to the U.S. House for decades. John McCain took 61 percent of the district's 2008 presidential election vote, winning 24 of the 25 counties here.

Major Industry

Government, defense, agriculture, manufacturing

Military Bases

Fort Leonard Wood, 11,682 military, 3,896 civilian (2009); Whiteman Air Force Base, 3,500 military, 2,200 civilian (2011)


Jefferson City (pt.), 43,057; Sedalia, 21,387


President Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar.




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