Steve Hodges

Courtesy of Jason Smith's campaign.

Reporting by KRCU's Jacob McCleland contributed to this piece.

Republican Jason Smith easily won a special election on Tuesday to fill Jo Ann Emerson’s vacant seat in the US House of Representatives.

It was a strong night for Smith, as the 32-year old Missouri House speaker pro tem cruised past Democratic rival Steve Hodges 67 percent to 27 percent.

Candidates for Missouri’s Eighth Congressional seat went on the offensive in a debate Tuesday night at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus in Cape Girardeau. The debate comes one week before a special election on June 4.

Democrat Steve Hodges and Republican Jason Smith were joined onstage by the Constitution Party’s Doug Enyart and Libertarian Bill Slantz.