By Eli Yokley
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. —
The candidates have been chosen for a special election in April to fill Missouri’s vacant 157th House District seat from Lawrence County.
The post was left vacant by the appointment of the incumbent to the state Board of Probation and Parole.
Lawrence County Republicans on Tuesday nominated Mike Moon, a rural Ash Grove farmer, as their candidate for the April 2 special election. In a statement, Missouri Republican Party Chairman Ed Martin pledged the party’s full support.
“Lawrence County is one of the more Republican areas of Missouri, and Mike Moon is the kind of constitutional conservative who reflects the views of the 157th House District,” Martin said. “We look forward to working with Mike to assist with his campaign, and we know he will be a responsible and effective advocate for Lawrence County in the Missouri General Assembly.”
Moon first appeared in Missouri politics in 2010, when he was one of several Republicans running for the 7th Congressional District nomination. Moon and the other challengers lost to Billy Long, R-Springfield, that year. In 2012, Moon was one of two Republicans who, again, unsuccessfully challenged Long for the nomination.
The district leans heavily Republican. In 2012, state Rep. Don Ruzicka, of Mount Vernon, was elected without any ballot opposition.
This time, Democrats have nominated a candidate: Charles Dake, a Mount Vernon veterinarian. Dake served a brief period of time in the Missouri House in 2006, when he won a special election that February. Nine months later, Dake lost in the general election to Ruzicka.
THE 157TH DISTRICT SEAT became vacant late last year when Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Don Ruzicka to the Board of Probation and Parole. Ruzicka’s appointment temporarily dampened the Republican Party’s super-majority in the House from 110 to 109 — the threshold for overriding a gubernatorial veto. The 157th District formerly was the 132nd, and while its boundaries changed slightly in the most recent redistricting based on population, it still encompasses most of Lawrence County.