Skip to comments.Confusion Wins In Missouri's 'Chaotic' Caucus Process
Posted on 03/17/2012 5:03:03 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Cassville, Mo., is a little town on the edge of the Ozark Mountains. During the Civil War, the Confederate state legislature convened here. Tuesday, the Republican presidential caucus was the big draw. Most of the rest of the state will hold its caucuses Saturday morning.
Confusion On Caucus Night
The first caucus was a messy process. More than 250 people showed up, most planning to vote directly for the candidates. But that was not to be.
David Cole, the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, told caucusgoers that they would be voting on delegates to attend district and state conventions. Those meetings are weeks from now, where Missouri's actual voting delegates will be decided. The delegates picked in this caucus won't be bound to any particular candidate, and they have to be elected in slates.
The county GOP happened to have a slate prepared, as did the Tea Party. But most folks were blindsided by the rules. Cole apologized to the angry crowd that they weren't aware of the process.
The confusion is understandable. The rules for these caucuses are different from county to county. Here in Barry County, only party activists had seen them beforehand. Frank Hubert, a robust 80-year-old in a blue blazer and tie, was one of many to stand up and vent.
"What we have had happen tonight is totally unacceptable, and it is a de facto railroad job," he said.
'Bizarre' Process Sparks Frustration
As tempers flared, it was clear the room was sharply divided between Tea Party supporters and traditional Republicans. Some likened it the caucus to the US Congress. Ralph Kelley, a retired engineer, backing Newt Gingrich, stepped out for a smoke.
"I think that we should vote the Tea Party out of the Republican Party," he says.
Tea Party folks weren't happy either.
"I think it's a joke. I think every bit of this is a joke," says Teresa Petty, a Ron Paul supporter.
The frustration is well understood 60 miles away, in the sunny offices of the political science department at Missouri State University.
"The process is chaotic. I think one word we could use is 'bizarre,'" professor George Connor says.
On top of that, he says, Missouri Republicans have already voted in a presidential primary this year, back in early February.
"We had a primary, which became a beauty contest. A million-dollar primary that didn't count for anything," he says.
Missouri Republicans decided to hand out delegates via a caucus system this year, but deadlocked with Democrats over striking the primary from the calendar. Rick Santorum won the nonbinding primary vote, but no delegates were chosen. The caucuses will do that, eventually.
'Anybody But Obama'
Back in Cassville, the Barry County Republican Party's slate won this caucus. That means the delegates from this steadfastly conservative county will probably back Mitt Romney in district and state conventions over the next couple of months. It will be at least that long before anything like a winner emerges.
Meanwhile, Frank Hubert has turned toward November.
"I'm the A.B.O., Anybody But Obama," he says.
Despite the byzantine nominating process, opposition to President Obama still unites the Republicans of Barry County.
Each state has rules about proportioning delegates, whether they are bound or not, and when (which vote round) bound delegates are free agents.
The August GOP Convention in Tampa needs to see Romney without a GOP-e maneuvered win in hand.
Let's take a look at Illinois' primary process and their 69 delegates:
"Tuesday 20 March 2012: 54 (3 from each of the 18 congressional districts) of Illinois' 69 delegates to the Republican National Convention will be directly elected in the Illinois Presidential Primary.
This is a so-called Loophole primary (a Delegate Selection Primary combined with an Advisory "beauty contest" presidential preference vote). The popular vote in the Illinois Republican Primary will have nothing whatsoever to do with the presidential preference of the 54 separately elected National Convention delegates.
Each candidate for delegate ... must file a Statement of Presidential Preference supporting a specific presidential candidate, or a statement that he/she intends to run uncommitted [SBE No. P-1E]. Note: There is no law or rule officially binding the delegates to the candidate.
Each of the State's 18 congressional districts is assigned 2 to 4 National Convention delegates- the number of delegates assigned to each district being based on the relative strength of that district's vote for the Republican presidential nominee in the previous Presidential election: a total of 54 district delegates to be directly elected by the voters and individually listed on the ballot with their presidential preferences indicated."
I live in Missouri and I have definitely adopted a “why bother?” mindset this primary season. I voted in the February primary, but only because there was a huge city sales tax measure on the ballot (it lost). I’m definitely skipping the caucus. Besides, the fix is in anyway.
Wife and I are going to the caucus in Camden County this morning.
From reading the story above, the rules need a re-write, f’sure.
Over the last week I’ve had the opportunity to watch “Game Change” and “The Undefeated.”
It was interesting to note striking similarities in how Gingrich and Palin were portrayed once they threatened the Establishment.
They’re “crazy,” “egotistic” and “power hungry.”
But prior to being labeled thus by their own party, they were heroes of reform and limited government.
Both had a barrage of ethics violations (that were later dismissed) aimed at them to force them to “quit.” Which they both did in the end to allow their party to govern.
Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are both feared by the Establishment. They are recognized as effective leaders, who will offer true conservative change.
This GOP Primary MUST go all the way to the floor in Tampa.
Yes. A report from NPR.
This is a BS story. That’s why a caucus is different from a primary.
First the whiners want the process reserved for those committed to being Republican, but when it’s designed that way the whiners want to raid the process and leave a mess for someone else (who better agree with them!) to clean up.
It’s a gorgeous day in the Ozarks. Surely you have something better to do.
Morris said Romney doubled back to MO this week to “try to peel off some of Rick’s delegates. Looks like it was to make sure he stole Rick’s delegates.
I don't know what prompted your anger but my purpose for posting this thread was to make the comment beneath it so FReepers could look at the process in their states or others (primary or caucus) and realize how fluid this will be going into the GOP Convention in August -- that the delegate numbers reported as being FOR each candidate are really not much to go by.
A story about the dead voting in St Louis would be a good one for them to cover, but I will not hold my breath for that one.
Participation in the caucuses is limited Republicans who are registered to vote in that county.
Thursday 15 March - Saturday 24 March 2012: County Caucuses. Participants elect delegates to the Congressional District Conventions and State Convention. The number of delegates per county is determined by the Missouri Republican Party based upon the number of Republican votes cast in the last presidential election.
Date breakout-- Chariton County: 15 March, Wayne County: 16 March, most counties: 17 March, Jackson County / city of St. Louis: 24 March.
Saturday 21 April 2012: 24 of 52 delegates to the National Convention are elected and bound to Presidential contenders in today's Congressional District Conventions.
Delegates, elected at the County Conventions, meet in each of the state's 8 Congressional Districts. Each District elects 3 National Convention District delegates.
National Convention delegates are bound on the first ballot unless released by the candidate.
Saturday 2 June 2012: 25 (10 base at-large delegates plus 15 bonus delegates) of 52 delegates to the National Convention are elected and bound to Presidential contenders at today's State Convention. These At-Large delegates are elected by the convention as a whole.
In addition, 3 party leaders, the National Committeeman, the National Committeewoman, and the chairman of the Missouri's Republican Party, will attend the convention as unpledged delegates by virtue of their position.
National Convention delegates are bound on the first ballot unless released by the candidate.
The Feb. 7, 2012 Non binding Primary results.
“Back in Cassville, the Barry County Republican Party’s slate won this caucus. That means the delegates from this steadfastly conservative county will probably back Mitt Romney”
What a bizarre statement.
You don’t even want to know about Barry Co Mo republicans...it is crazy!
I moved to MO from Virginia...Newt was not on the ballot in Virginia and he was not on the feb ballot in MO. It is so discouraging.
You don’t want to know about Cassville, MO..I live in Barry Co where this mess is mind boggling and shoddy politics at best..toss in Gov Nixon and the aburd 7 million dollar beauty contest we had...the gop is not on their game.
If the Republican elite establishment keeps on with this nonsense stealing (yes, stealing!) the election from the Tea Party with slimy procedural tactics like this, they will have a third party challenge.
Just keep it up elites, and we the people, will have nothing lo lose by going third party. That day is coming closer.
“Selecting” Romney instead of electing a candidate who can win is not going to get rid of Obama. Romney will not get the base out there and he is fatally flawed as a candidate. Obama will sweep up the detritius as his candidacy falls apart.
Remember Dole? Remember McCain? Can we afford that nonsense this time? Heck no!! You country club types better pray that some real democracy happens in the convention or else!!!
That is a very stupid process, meant to be so complicated that only the party officials can navigate them.
In Butler Ounty we only had about a 8 or 10 for Newt, Paul’s slate got 81 votes & the other slate got 108 & appeared to be fairly well divided between the other 2.. Our delegates, party faithfuls, are not bound to vote for anyone. What a sham! I so want a primary next time!
Apologies. I was targeting the author of the story, not necessarily you. Most delegate counts touted are indeed just fantasies that ignore the details of the rules by which delegates are actually selected.
And yes, there are plenty of FReepers who want ‘outsiders’ excluded from the process, but then feel cheated by the insiders’ choices. How can it possibly be both ways?
Missouri's election rule are bizarre.
It will make entertaining television, and whoever comes out alive will be able to pick up enough pieces to run a decent campaign. But don't expect any integrity from this party, ever again. You can stick a fork in the GOP--it' s done.
I didn’t hear or see anyone for Newt, which was a surprise.
Paul came in second in Cape County & had we voted for candidates instead of slates he might have given Santorum a run for his money here. His organization really got out the vote. Most people I know decided not to go after they found out how we were doing it. The state should have had the same rules every where instead of giving the counties an option. Bizarre, indeed.......
Thank you deport. I was off line most of yesterday.