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Missouri - 9th District

Incumbent -- Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Nov. 30, 2009

Democrats didn't target this conservative-leaning district during six-term Republican Kenny Hulshof's re-election campaigns. But they did put up an effort in 2008 when Hulshof left the seat open to run for governor, a contest that he lost as the Republican opponent to Democrat Jay Nixon.

The close call endured by Luetkemeyer as the 9th District Republican nominee in 2008 could tempt the Democrats into making another run at the seat as he bids in 2010 for a second term.

Recruiting has gone a bit slowly for the challenging party, but there now is a short list of candidates with campaign experience. Possible Democratic challengers include former Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell, state Sen. Wes Shoemyer and state Rep. Jeff Harris.

Baker will not be seeking a rematch of her 2008 bid. After taking another look, she landed a job with the Obama administration in late 2009.

Luetkemeyer likely enters the 2010 race in stronger position as the incumbent than he had in the open-seat race, though. The 9th District's Republican base usually is stronger than suggested by his 3 percentage-point margin in 2008. District voters favored Republican presidential nominee John McCain by 11 points on the same ballot, and Hulshof's lowest vote share in his five re-election contests was 59 percent.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Bordering Iowa and Illinois, as well as five other districts in Missouri, the 9th picks up small towns scattered across the farmland of northeastern and central Missouri. Columbia, the district's single large city, and some western St. Louis suburbs are the 9th's only population centers.

The 9th splits suburban St. Charles County with the neighboring 2nd and encompasses all of adjacent Warren and Franklin counties. General Motors has increased production at its plant in Wentzville, and many residents still work at Boeing plants in nearby districts. Small businesses, a source of economic growth for years, took a hit during the nationwide recession.

Nestled along the district's portion of the Missouri River Valley, residents of Gasconade and surrounding counties boast a wine industry that dates back to the 19th century. In other rural areas, the district's economy still thrives on cattle, soybeans and corn.

About halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, Columbia is a mostly middle-class city. The district's primary economic engine is the University of Missouri flagship campus in Columbia. The school is Missouri's largest public research university, but state revenue shortfalls have required tuition hikes and budget cuts. The city's health care facilities include the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital, and Columbia is a regional hub for companies in the insurance industry.

Historically Democratic, the 9th has become increasingly Republican over the past two decades as white-collar, GOP-friendly voters have replaced blue-collar and rural "Yellow Dog" Democrats in the district. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain won 55 percent of the district's vote.

Major Industry

Higher education, agriculture, health care

Cities

Columbia, 108,500; Hannibal, 17,916; Kirksville, 17,505

Notable

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was born in the town of Florida in Monroe County and grew up in Hannibal, which attracts visitors to his boyhood home.

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