The next session of Congress doesn't start for another month and a second representative elected Nov. 6 has resigned. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., announced Monday she is retiring from Congress in February to become the president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned shortly after the general election after undergoing months of treatment for bipolar disorder.
* A special election will be held in 2013 to replace Emerson, according to the Southeast Missourian. The representative is from the Eighth District, which covers 30 counties in rural southeast Missouri.
* The longtime representative was elected to a ninth term in early November. Her late husband, Bill Emerson, was in Congress from 1981 until his death in 1996.
* The outgoing lawmaker released a statement published in the Southeast Missourian piece. She said, "I see a new way to serve. I did not go seeking this opportunity, but I am excited about the new challenge it offers." Emerson also said she hasn't lost her heart to serve and mentioned he was honored to serve her district.
* Emerson has been in Congress since 1997 when she was elected to fill the spot vacated by her husband's death. The 62-year-old came into Congress after Bill Emerson died of lung cancer in June 1996, according to the Associated Press.
* Two people have already said they are interested in succeeding Emerson for her seat. Lloyd Smith and Sarah Steelman confirmed their interest to the Associated Press. Smith currently serves as the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party. Steelman lost the Republican primary election in August to Rep. Todd Akin in a three-way race to determine the challenger for Sen. Claire McCaskill.
* The St. Louis Beacon mentions other possible successors. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder could seek a different position. Steve Tilley, the former Missouri Speaker of the House, is also listed as a possibility. Whoever is elected from the hugely Republican area will likely have the job until that person chooses not to be the Eighth District representative.
* Gov. Jay Nixon must call a special election within 10 weeks. The new session of Congress starts in January.
* Emerson handily won her seat four weeks ago with 71.9 percent of the vote when she defeated Jack Rushin by more than 140,000 votes out of 300,000 cast.
* Emerson starts her new position March 1. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association believes the group found its new CEO due to "her extensive knowledge of the issues facing electric cooperatives in rural America."
William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics.
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