A southwest Missouri congressman has filed for his sixth term on Capitol Hill, and believes the GOP will take control of the House this November.

U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, traveled to Jefferson City to file for re-election on Tuesday. He spoke to Missourinet after he filed, at the Kirkpatrick Building.

Long is optimistic about re-election this fall.

“President Trump is going to do really well down there (southwest Missouri) and I’m kind of joined at the hip with the president,” Long says. “So we’ll kind of ride together, I think, to re-election.”

Congressman Long was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010, replacing former Congressman Roy Blunt. Mr. Blunt was elected to the U.S. Senate that November.

Long was re-elected in 2018, defeating Democrat Jamie Schoolcraft with 66 percent of the vote.

The district includes Springfield, Joplin, Branson, Monett and Bolivar.

Long also predicts that Republicans will retake control of the U.S. House this fall, and that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, will be the next House Speaker.

“We only need to pick up 20 seats, and there’s 34 seats that congressmen have right now, Democrat congressmen, that are in districts that Trump won back in 2016,” says Long.

Democrats currently control the House 232-197.

Long is also encouraging his constituents on both sides of the aisle to vote in next month’s presidential preference primary (PPP). He says it’s important to make your voice heard.

“I voted for the president yesterday (Monday). I had to vote absentee (in Greene County) because I’ll be in Washington, but wanted to make sure that everybody gets out for that presidential primary,” Long says.

Missouri’s presidential primary will take place on Tuesday March 10. The Missouri Democratic Party plans to host a March 8th “Show-Me Showdown” with all of the major Democratic presidential candidates at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Another key issue that Long is focusing on is expanding rural broadband across the Ozarks.

USDA announced in late January that the state will receive $61 million to expand it. Congressman Long says that funding will expand connectivity to about 4,000 homes and businesses in his district, in areas such as Greene, Christian, Jasper and Polk counties.

Long has expressed concern with the digital divide, saying earlier this month that “for rural communities, broadband access is as scarce as hen’s teeth.”

Three other Republicans have filed to challenge Congressman Long in the August primary: Sparta’s Eric Harleman, Neosho’s Kevin VanStory and Branson resident Steve Chentnik.

Springfield Democrat Teresa Montseny has also filed. Filing ends on March 31.