This district has historically been a Democratic Party stronghold. Antipathy to the Republican Party had its origins in the American Civil War and the infamous General Order 11. While Republicans found some success in this area after the Civil War, until 2010 only one Republican had been elected here since the Great Depression and only for one term. Bill Clinton carried this district by a lopsided margin in 1992 and carried it again by a smaller margin in 1996. However, several demographic trends have converged to erode the Democratic base in this district. First, as the New York Times election maps show, the predominantly rural counties lining the Missouri River have sharply trended Republican between the 2000 Senate election and the 2006 election. Secondly, population losses in the Kansas City based 5th district drew most of the district's share of heavily Democratic Jackson County out of the 4th district. To compensate for this, large portions of heavily Republican Southwest Missouri were moved in from the neighboring 7th district. The result of these aforementioned trends resulted in a spectacular collapse of Democratic support in the district. Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Obama won less than 40% of the vote here. In the 2010 general election, Hartzler defeated 34-year Democratic incumbent Ike Skelton.