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Springfield auctioneer and realtor Billy Long, who ran on a ticket of being “Fed Up” with federal government spending, is headed to Washington, D.C. The Republican candidate for Missouri’s 7th Congressional seat handily beat his closest opponent, Democrat Scott Eckersley. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore has details.
[Sound: Voices, TV]At last night’s Republican Watch Party in the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, the drinks and hors d’oeuvres were plentiful and Fox News played for several hours on a huge projector until a young brunette by the name of Kelly Long took the stage around 9:00 to greet a fired up crowd.
“There is no man that has a better track record of doing the right thing, so I am so proud tonight to present our Congressman for the southwest Missouri, 7th District, my dad, Billy Long,” she said.
To the tune of “Proud to Be an American,” Billy Long took the stage. He spoke of loyalty, and of the job he’s been chosen to do.
“I’m going to be loyal to everyone in the 7th district. I’m going to represent you well. I’m going to work hard. I’m gonna go to bed late, and get up early. So, anyway, God bless you and thank y’all for coming out tonight,” Long told the crowd.
Long carried about 63 percent of the vote—that’s more than twice his closest competitor, Democrat Scott Eckersley, who carried about 30 percent. Libertarian party candidate Kevin Craig garnered about six percent of the vote.
The race itself was not one of the more pleasant ones.
As late as Monday, Eckersley was still trying to link Long’s campaign to a phony email sent in Eckersley's name to local media—that email wrongly claimed that Eckersley had dropped out of the race. As a result, Eckersley has filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission, and is asking them to investigate both the email and a fraudulent Twitter account. Despite the election being over now, those investigations will continue.
KSMU could not reach Eckersley for comment. But executive director of the Greene County Democrats said it’s an uphill battle for any Democrat to run in the traditionally conservative Ozarks region.
“I think Scott obviously had a good message and a good story to tell. And if people, you know, would have taken the time to actually look at the difference between him and Billy Long, they would have overwhelmingly supported him. But in this type of election, I think a lot of it was just, look for the name and see if it had an ‘R’ next to it,” Patterson said.
It’s been about 50 years since a Democrat held the seat that will now go to Billy Long. It was vacated by Republican Roy Blunt, who won last night’s senate race against political rival Robin Carnahan.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.