State Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith won the the special election in Missouri’s 8th District on Tuesday night, keeping the conservative territory in GOP hands.
Smith defeated state Rep. Steve Hodges, 68 percent to 27 percent, with 66 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.
Smith was expected to win in the deep-red district, located in the southeast corner of the state. A Republican has represented the district since 1981, and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district in 2012 with 66 percent.
As such, the race wasn’t widely covered by the national press. The contest was often overshadowed by South Carolina’s special election earlier this year, which paved the way for Republican Rep. Mark Sanford’s return to Congress.
Smith predicted he will side with some of the House’s most conservative members in an interview with CQ Roll Call last week. He said he won’t support raising the debt ceiling — an issue that will likely come up in Congress later this year.
At 32, Smith will also be one of the youngest members of Congress.
Smith will succeed former Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican who resigned from Congress to take a job in the private sector earlier this year.