It is often--and correctly--said that voters dislike Congress but like their own representatives. In this election cycle, Ike Skelton, a 17-term incumbent Democrat who represents a Missouri district that gave more than 60 percent of its votes to George W. Bush and John McCain, represents everything voters are fed up with this election cycle. He's an establishment figure, 78 years of age, running for his 18th term in Congress. And he has a (D) next to his name. The mood in this cycle works against both establishment incumbents and Democrats.
But Skelton, who survived the last Republican wave election in 1994, when many of his Democratic colleagues were shockingly defeated, is respected and well liked personally in his district--which is why he has become an institution unto himself. He has rarely had to fight to get re-elected; his broad support in his district has allowed him to vanquish all challengers by racking up more than 60 percent of the vote in nearly every election.
Skelton's district is more socially conservative (Skelton did not support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell") and less squeamish about the use of military power (it harbors several military bases) than most represented by Democrats. Skelton aligns with his constituents in this sense, especially as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. This district would be represented by a Republican if not for the personal appeal that Skelton has cultivated across party lines over his three-decade career in Congress.