Campaigning is often seen as a long and arduous process; the amount of time and money that is put into campaigns is often criticized by citizens and rarely praised by those running. I was therefore surprised to see that Jo Ann Emerson, a Missouri Republican who just won reelection in the House of Representatives, will resign from her job in Congress this February. Emerson has served in Congress since 1996 and was the first female representative from Missouri in the House. This year, Emerson received 72 percent of the vote. She ran against one other republican in the republican primaries, and three other candidates in the general election. She alone spent over $1 million on her campaign. Emerson is leaving her job in Congress to take on the role of president and chief executive of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
With all the effort Emerson put into her 2012 bid for reelection, I do not understand how she is resigning almost immediately once her ninth term begins. Although Emerson received widespread support from her constituency, she still had competition in this election; this means in addition to the time and money that Emerson put into her campaign, her competition was also buying ads and putting in time to compete against her. Although the money spent on her campaign is only a small percentage in the $6 billion that was spent in the 2012 election cycle, I find it gross that she would spend over $1 million, as well as allow her opponents to spend money and time campaigning, only to then leave her position before her ninth term really begins. While she may not have known about her new position at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association prior to running, I would hope that if she was seeking a job outside of the House of Representatives, she would not run for the position at all.
I have always thought that too much money is put into elections, and Emerson leaving her position shows me that clearly, not everyone agrees. Even though $1 million is not much money in the grand scheme of elections, it is a lot of money outside of the political world. Emerson’s departure means that her district will have to endure another election for her seat, which means more money will be spent campaigning in this area. While the House of Representatives is not as sought after as the Senate, it is still one of our national legislating bodies and because of this, this position should not be taken lightly. I hope that we don’t see more elected officials leaving their position, as I find this to be extremely selfish.