KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Democrat Ike Skelton, who built a reputation as a military expert and social conservative during 34 years representing western and central Missouri in the US House, died Monday in Virginia. He was 81.
Longtime colleague Russell Orban confirmed the death. The cause was not immediately released, but Orban said Representative Skelton entered the hospital a week earlier with a bad cough.
A former prosecutor in his native Lexington, Mo., Representative Skelton joined the national Kansas City-based law firm of Husch Blackwell following his 2010 defeat in Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District by Republican Vicky Hartzler, a state lawmaker who had strong Tea Party backing. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.