Presidential primary confusing in Missouri

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Voters in Barry County will have a chance to participate in the presidential preference vote in Missouri on Feb. 7, 2012. The notice of candidates who have filed for the presidential preference primary appears in today's issue.

The vote became a political football after leaders in the state acted to move up the date to place Missouri's vote earlier in the primary season. The traditional date of the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March came into question after several states moved to upend Iowa as the first vote by setting their primaries on Jan. 31, 2012.

The National Republican Party refused to recognize delegates selected before March. Therefore the meaning of the presidential preference votes has become limited. Democrats in Missouri have agreed to apportion their delegates according to the popular vote on Feb. 7, 2012.

Both parties will name delegates at county and state conventions.

The Republican primary has nine candidates listed, who filed with the Missouri Secretary of State's office between Oct. 25 and Nov. 22. The last day to withdraw was Nov. 22.

Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign on Dec. 3, is still on the list. Newt Gingrich is not.

Gingrich said at a news conference in New York on Dec. 5 that his decision to skip the Missouri vote was "not an oversight." He characterized primaries where delegates were not selected as "beauty pageants."

The Republicans will select delegates in four steps. County caucuses will be held on March 17, 2012, to select delegates to the Congressional District convention. According to party rules, delegates in attendance at each caucus alone determine if presidential preference is to be a factor and, if so, how it is to be applied. The number of delegates per county will be based upon the number of Republican votes cast in the last presidential election.

On April 21, 2012, Republicans will select 24 of the 52 delegates to the national convention during Congressional District Conventions. Each district will elect three delegates. Each delegate will indicate their presidential preference before voting begins.

Another 10 at-large delegates and 15 bonus delegates will be selected on June 2, 2012, at the State Republican Convention.

Democrats, who have four candidates on the Feb. 7, 2012, ballot, will elect 102 delegates, seven alternates and 58 district level delegates. Selection will begin in multi-tier caucuses and conventions, beginning with mass county meetings on March 29, 2012.

Barry and Lawrence County Democrats will name one delegate for every 4,000 votes, or fractions thereof, based on the number of votes cast in the 2008 presidential and governor's races in the general election.

Democrats will hold their Congressional District conventions on April 26, 2012, and their state convention on June 9, 2012.

The Libertarian Party has one declared candidate on the Feb. 7, 2012, ballot.

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