Ms. Hartzler, a former state legislator who was the spokeswoman for a successful effort to amend the state’s Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and wrote a book on political campaigns, is an energetic if cautious adversary who has tried to keep the focus national. The Republican leadership has promised her a seat on the Armed Services Committee.
She argues that a vote for Mr. Skelton is a vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House. Ms. Pelosi’s name seems constantly on Ms. Hartzler’s tongue, repeated far more often and far less charitably than that of Mr. Skelton, who she said had voted with Ms. Pelosi 95 percent of the time. “I like Ike,” Ms. Hartzler said in an interview, “I just don’t like his votes with Nancy Pelosi.”
Mr. Skelton distanced himself from Ms. Pelosi, declining to say if he would support her continuing in her post should Democrats maintain control of Congress. “I’m not associated with her,” he said. “She’s the speaker, but I’m an independent voice.”