Moon and Dake will face off on April 2 in a special election called by Governor Jay Nixon. The winner will replace Republican Don Ruzicka, who was named by Nixon in December to serve on the State Parole Board.
All 29 members of the 157th Legislative District Committee met at the Mt. Vernon Arts and Recreation Center (the Marc) to hear presentations by candidates. Five approached the party committee for consideration. Dale Blankenship, of Marionville, withdrew prior to the meeting.
Rabbi Derf Eukel, chairman of the legislative committee, served as master of ceremonies.
Moon, Mt. Vernon Mayor Dave Eden and Wally Long, Republican precinct committeeman from Mt. Vernon, provided a general introduction and each answered the same five questions from the committee. The candidates stayed in a separate room during each round and did not hear each other's answers.
Jeff Mark, of Aurora, when his turn came, said that Nixon was committing major resources to win the seat for the Democrats. In a gesture of unity, Mark withdrew from consideration.
Following the first round of balloting, no candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote. Dane Roaseau, chairman of the Republican Central Committee in Lawrence County, announced the balloting results. Long received the lowest number of votes and was thus dropped from the second round of balloting.
During his presentation, Moon held up voting tallies comparing his bid for the Republican nomination for the Seventh District congressional seat against incumbent Billy Long in August 2012, compared to the votes Dake received in 2006, when he lost to Ruzicka. Moon won 38 percent of the Lawrence County vote in the primary, including the Mt. Vernon and Marionville precincts.
"I believe my vote tally shows I have proven I can get the votes to win," Moon said.
Eden said his 33 years in business as a pharmacist at McShane Drug and at the Missouri Rehabilitation Center since 2000 made him well known among the same people who know Dake. With 12 years of experience on the Mt. Vernon City Council, including nine as mayor, Eden said he was the candidate with the best chance to win. He had recruited Miles Ross, a past aide for Jack Goodman, to lead his campaign.
Following a second round of voting, Roaseau announced Moon was the winner.
Eukel invited all of the candidates to the front to accept a round of applause from the audience for participating. Several county officials also attended the proceedings and were introduced during the wait between votes.
Republican committee members traveled to Jefferson City last month to lobby for an April election. Eukel reported party leaders will travel to the Capitol next week to introduce Moon to Republican caucus leaders and Speaker of the House Timothy Jones.