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Emerson expected to leave Congress on Tuesday

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Jo Ann Emerson

In this Oct. 13, 2010 file photo, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., speaks in Poplar Bluff, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

WASHINGTON • Rep. Jo Ann Emerson is likely to resign her congressional office next week, which would pave the way for Gov. Jay Nixon to call a special election to replace her coinciding with the April 2 statewide municipal elections in Missouri.

Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, announced soon after winning re-election that she intended to leave Congress after 17 years to head the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Emerson said at the time that she would quit in February, but declared afterward that she might leave earlier in order to give Nixon flexibility in setting the date for an election to replace her and in so doing save the state money.

Jeffrey Connor, Emerson's chief of staff, acknowledged this afternoon that by resigning on Tuesday— the day after President Barack Obama's second inauguration — Emerson would give the governor that flexibility.

At present, 13 GOP candidates are vying for the nomination in the southern Missouri district, which is regarded as strongly Republican. Members of the 8th District Congressional Republican Committee will decide on a candidate after Emerson formally resigns.

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