Though Moss called the job a "dream position" in his withdrawal letter to Gov. Jay Nixon, he said professional considerations had prompted him to change his mind.
In an interview with the Southeast Missourian, Moss also pointed to mounting political pressures as a factor in his decision.
Nixon will appoint a prosecutor to fill out the two years left on Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle's term until the 2014 election cycle.
"Anytime somebody steps out there for public office, there are all kinds of attacks -- both public and personal," said Moss, managing partner of the Moss and Stillwell Law Firm. "It's a difficult process for your family, [and] on all the candidates' families that have been involved in the process. Somebody should think long and hard before they drag their family through that."
Moss' letter was made public the day before Swingle's last day in office today, which will mark the end the quarter-century career of the longest-serving prosecutor in county history. Swingle has accepted a position as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office.
Moss worked briefly as an assistant prosecutor under Swingle in 1988. He was the lead attorney in two jury trials -- one that saw the verdict reversed.
His decision leaves at least three others in the running, including Republicans Frank Miller, an assistant prosecutor in Swingle's office, and Chris Limbaugh, whose father and grandfather previously held the position. Defense lawyer Bryan Greaser, a Democrat from Cape Girardeau, has said he is considering applying.
Moss would not rule out possibly running for the job in two years, depending upon who gets it in the meantime.
"It's just too early to make that decision," he said.
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