Former Democratic Missouri state Representative Ike Skelton died October 28 in an Arlington, Va. hospital at the age of 81.
Skelton served 17 terms in Congress, serving the 4th Congressional district in west-central Missouri. before being defeated in 2010 by Republican Vicki.
In 2010, as Skelton waited for election returns, former University of Missouri Law School classmate Larry McMullen noted that Skelton's district was a Republican bastion.
McMullen said over the years Republicans crossed over to support Skelton.
“And now, Republicans smelling blood in the water are rising up and saying, let’s just throw everybody out," McMullen said that night.
Skelton was unable to counter an anti-establishment campaign of Vicki Hartzler who still holds the Congressional seat.
Skelton was viewed as one of the most enduring and influential members of the Democratic Party in Congress until his defeat. He long held the post as House Armed Services Committee Chairman.
Even in defeat, Skelton pledged to continue in that post.
“To make sure that the young men and women in uniform will be well taken care of in their arduous task in fighting terrorism throughout the world," Skelton said.
Skelton was a conservative Democrat, and a hawk during the Vietnam War.
Colleague Sam Graves from Missouri's 6th district remembered Skelton as a man who “always put Missouri and America first and “unsurpassed expert on military and national defense matters.”
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Roy Temple called Skelton “a champion of a strong and sensible national defense.”
Republican Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt recalled that “no member of the Congress was more dedicated to America’s defense and those who defend us.”
Skelton was always proud that he had known President Harry Truman and, as a teenager, had attended Truman’s inauguration in 1949.