In February Rick Santorum overwhelmingly won the Missouri primary with 55 percent of the vote, with Mitt Romney coming in second place with 25 percent. Unlike other states, Missouri's primary was labeled nothing more than a beauty contest because Missouri's delegate allotment were not to be decided until March 17-24, 2012, during their caucuses. While most were held on March 17, the state will not be finished with their process until the 24th.
There are 52 delegates tied to the Missouri caucus process.
The process of having a primary and a caucus is unusual but the events that started yesterday became more than a little chaotic as Ron Paul supporters have been arrested, Romney and Paul supporters claim they previously worked out a "deal" to nominate someone to chair the caucus resulting in one caucus for St. Charles County actually adjourning before any delegates were selected. St. Charles was to have selected the highest number of delegates than any single caucus in the state.
St. Louis Today reports of collusion between Romney and Paul supporters in an attempt to shut Santorum down:
St. Charles County caucus chaos video below, showing the reaction when the meeting was adjourned:
Buddy Hardin, a Romney leader and longtime behind-the-scenes force in GOP politics in St. Charles County, alleged that Santorum supporters and caucus organizers sought to close the meeting after they realized that Paul and Romney backers had formed an alliance to share the county’s delegates.
“Once they realized they didn’t have a slate and they wouldn’t get any delegates, they tanked it,” Hardin alleged. He said the shutdown was carried out “to avoid a Santorum embarrassment and loss.”
Karen Fesler, state director for the Santorum campaign, denied that. “We didn’t give any instructions to shut it down,” she said.
Eugene Dokes, the county GOP committee chairman who said he’s uncommitted, said organizers had been trying to select a slate of delegates that reflected the relative strength of all three candidates.
One caucus participant accused Paul and Romney supporters of “colluding” to make it impossible to conduct the meeting. Adrian Boyd, an undecided Republican from St. Peters, said both groups were so loud they drowned out the public address system.
“It was descending into an Occupy Wall Street type of an event,” Boyd said.
Video of Ron Paul Supporter Arrested Outside St. Charles County, Mo. Caucus 03/17/12
In Clay County, arguments between Paul supporters and others became so intense that the caucus chairman threatened to have voters removed by force reports The Kansas City Star.
Videos of Paul supporters causing trouble in Clay County below:
Official results won't be known until next month but the mixture of holding a primary that means nothing, caucuses that have gotten so chaotic no delegates are chosen, collusion between candidate's supporters because they know who to collude against after the results of the primary, arrests and caucuses adjourned before delegates are selected should be enough to convince Missouri that they need a new procedure in the future.
Then the procedure even after their beauty contest primary and their chaotic caucuses further confuses the issue:
Participants in Saturday’s caucuses weren’t actually selecting their choice for presidential nominee. They were selecting delegates who will appear at two larger meetings in April and June, who will in turn select delegates to the national convention in Tampa.
From the Missouri Republican Party:
David Cole, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, released the following statement regarding the Missouri caucuses:
“Reports coming in from across the state indicate that a vast majority of the Missouri caucuses were well-run and well-attended. While it is natural that supporters of different candidates will disagree, in most cases, these disagreements were handled in a civil manner.
“In the situations that need additional attention, the State Party is committed to ensuring the delegate selection process is fair.
“I would like to thank our county GOP chairmen for their hard work in the lead up to these caucuses, the elected caucus chairmen for their leadership, and most of all, the thousands of Missourians who attended the caucuses in support of our Republican candidates.
“While no results will be reported, today marked the start of the process that will ultimately bind Missouri’s delegates to the national convention.”
H/T on videos and all day coverage directly from Missouri to The Turner Report.
Puerto Rico holds their primary today.
(Full GOP Primary/Caucus Schedule HERE)