Missouri Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson will retire from the House of Representatives next February.
Update, 2:50 pm: Several Republicans have expressed an interest in Emerson’s seat, including Missouri GOP executive director Lloyd Smith, Senator Kevin Engler, Representative Todd Richardson, and Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy. In a written statement, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder writes he will make a decision after speaking with committee members. Senator Jason Crowell indicated he needed more time before making a decision.
Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican, was just re-elected to her ninth term in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District. She will leave her southern Missouri district to be president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Emerson says she will not step down before the beginning of the next Congressional session because she wants to continuing work on issues like the fiscal cliff, completion of the Birds Point levee and Mississippi River navigation challenges.
“All of these require a huge amount of attention, which is why I feel so strongly that there needs to be as short a time period as possible between me leaving and the special election as called," says Emerson. "And it’s why I’m going to work until the very last minute before I have to start over at the NRECA.”
Emerson says the new job opportunity came about very quickly. She says the NRECA’s approached her about the presidency, and the organization’s board voted on her early Monday.
Governor Jay Nixon will call for a special election to fill Emerson’s seat. The Republican and Democratic Congressional District Committees will select candidates to run for the race.
Emerson says she has no plans to run for office again.