Billy Long wins re-election easily
Posted on November 5, 2014 08:53 am CST
By Steve Pokin and Deirdre Shesgreen
Republican Rep. Billy Long of Springfield easily won a third term in the House on Tuesday and expects that the nation will now get what it wants — governance rather than gridlock — now that it appears Republicans have seized a majority in the U.S. Senate, he said.
"The people want us to work together," Long said Tuesday night. "Now we get to govern. We don't need to gloat and we don't need to spike the football."
Later Tuesday, it was confirmed Long was correct in his assessment that the GOP had taken control of the Senate. The GOP has been in control of the House.
Long beat two rivals to represent Missouri's 7th Congressional District, which includes Greene and nine other counties in southwest Missouri. With 309 of 311 precincts reporting, Long had 63.6 percent of the vote. Democrat Jim Evans had 28.7 percent.
"I stayed positive the whole time," Long said of his campaign. "I wish I could say the same about the other side. I never said one bad word."
Long said his priority when he returns to Washington in January will be pushing for job creation. He accused the Democratic-led Senate of not acting on 378 bills, including several bills that would create jobs.
Long supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oil to the U.S. from Canada.
"Instead of buying our oil from people who hate us, we are going to buy it from people in Canada," he said.
Long went into the race virtually assured of re-election in this conservative corner of the Show Me State. He raised more than $1 million for the race, compared to about $95,000 for Evans, according to campaign finance reports showing activity through Oct. 15. Libertarian candidate Kevin Craig did not report raising any money
"I think, unfortunately, it was inevitable," Evans said of the result.
"We thought we could move the numbers," he said. But he didn't. In fact two years ago he did better, capturing 30.9 percent of the vote.
Evans said he received the exact percentage of the vote that had been predicted by a computer model.
It was too early to tell if he would run again in two years, he said.
Long said that Evans never conceded two years ago so he didn't expect a concession call this time around.
"If that will make him happy I will say, 'Yes, I lost the race,' " Evans said.
Long's victory came after a low-key campaign with no big showdowns between the candidates.
Long also attracted some criticism during the election for his decision to skip the only candidate forum, which was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri. Long's campaign manager said at the time that the congressman's voting record in the House served as a clear guide to his positions and a candidate forum would be a "circus of rhetoric."
"That was a political event," Long said Tuesday night. "It was for people to stand up and say how great they are. I am busy working, not campaigning."
A one-time auctioneer and radio talk-show host, Long will join a bigger Republican majority in the 114th Congress. Although the results in some House races were not finalized Tuesday night, the GOP gained at least seven seats in the Senate.
During the campaign, Evans, a retired teacher, said the Republican incumbent was too partisan and more interested in his own political future than in fixing the nation's problems. Craig argued that Long had not done enough to shrink the federal budget.
Long was first elected in 2010 — running on the simple slogan of "Fed Up!" — after then-Rep. Roy Blunt vacated the seat to run for the Senate.
Over the past four years Long has racked up a conservative voting record, supporting the GOP leadership's proposals to roll back environmental regulations, repeal the health care law, and trim domestic spending. He sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has broad purview over trade, health care, and other issues.