Former Green Beret Tommy Sowers lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson Tuesday in the race for Missouri’s 8th Congressional District. Emerson earned 65.6% of the vote with Sowers in second with 28.8%.
Sowers, who ran as a Democrat, acknowledged last week he was a long shot to unseat the 8-term Congresswoman, but he remained optimistic pointing to the gains his campaign had made with independent voters. In the end, the Republican wave that has engulfed this mid-term election combined with Emerson’s experience proved too much.
The former special forces soldier and West Point instructor did catch the attention of the nation as he made the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a focus of his campaign. Sowers, 34, deployed to Iraq twice and Kosovo once before he got out in 2009 as a major. He said the U.S. should pull out conventional forces out of Afghanistan and repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. National media outlets such as CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times all highlighted his campaign. He even had singer Sheryl Crow record a phone message that was sent out to potential voters in the 8th District.
The local reporters credited him with putting up the first substantial challenge to Emerson in 14 years. Sowers thanked his supporters and said he was pleased that his message on Afghanistan had reached the President during his concession speech last night.
“Together we accomplished so much. We gave the voters a true choice for the first time in 14 years. We challenged both parties and the President on the Afghanistan War, calling for a reassessment of our strategy and for Congress to step up and have a debate about our future there,” Sowers said.