Updated 10:50 p.m. ET on Tuesday 6/4
(CNN) – Republican state Rep. Jason Smith won a special election Tuesday in southeast Missouri, beating out Democrat Steve Hodges in a district dominated by Republicans.
Smith will succeed former GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, who stepped down in January, just two months after winning re-election, to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The seat had been in family hands for 32 years, as Emerson was first elected in 1996 to succeed her husband, who died in office months earlier. Emerson won nearly three quarters of the vote last November in the mostly rural district.
– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.