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Skelton ties the knot, while the GOP tries to put him in one

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 1, 2009 - U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Lexington, has come under fire from Republicans lately, because the GOP considers the veteran Democrat -- in office since 1977 -- vulnerable; his southwest Missouri seat is deemed Republican-leaning.

But it's unclear how much attention Skelton has been paying to the partisan attacks. Since Saturday, he's been on his honeymoon in Lake of the Ozarks.

Skelton, 77 and a widower, married Patty Martin on Saturday. Martin is a widow and a retired school counselor. The couple got engaged last year.

The pastor doing the honors Skelton's congressional colleague, U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City and an ordained pastor.

One unintended "wedding gift" may have been provided by the state's senior Republican, U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., who told reporters last week that Missouri was lucky to have Skelton as chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee.

In response to speculation, a Bond spokeswoman said today that the senator's statement had nothing to do with whether he supported his party's designs on Skelton's seat. 

“Surely partisanship hasn’t reached the level where colleagues can’t say nice things about each other -– especially about a man like Congressman Skelton who we all admire," the spokeswoman said, speaking on the senator's behalf.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.