KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Democratic U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton is out after more than 30 years in Congress, losing his Missouri seat to Republican challenger Vicky Hartzler.
The 78-year-old Skelton first won election to Congress in 1976, rising to chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He's built a reputation as a military expert and social conservative in a district that normally tilts toward Republicans.
But Hartzler linked Skelton to President Barack Obama and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She said he had lost touch with his district by voting with Democratic congressional leaders 95 percent of the time.
Hartzler is a 50-year-old former home economics teacher and state lawmaker who drew support from tea party activists. She served as spokeswoman for a group backing a 2004 ballot measure that banned gay marriage in Missouri.