This One Counts: St. Charles County Chooses Ron Paul at Second Caucus
Ron Paul was the big winner in the St. Charles County Republicans second attempt to hold a caucus.
The Republicans in St. Charles County finally got a chance to have their voices heard at Tuesday's caucus. At the end of the four-hour long caucus the loudest voices belonged to Ron Paul supporters.
The Texas congressman picked up a clean sweep at round 2 of the caucus. The pro-Paul slate Constitutional Conservatives picked up the 59 delegates for District 2 and the 88 delegates for District 3. Those delegates will go onto the Congressional District Caucuses on April 21.
Paul's slate won the state delegation vote as well.
"It was great," said Bryce Steinhoff, Ron Paul County coordinator for St. Charles County. "It was a lot of hard weeks of getting out the vote. It was old fashioned—we went to people's houses, we knocked on doors, we made tons of phone calls. We got out the vote and got people here and that's how you win elections and that how you win caucuses."
Steinhoff said the caucus sweep was a perfect outcome for the Paul fans.
Tuesday's caucus was a stark contrast to the first attempt on St. Patrick's Day. For one thing, no one was arrested and extra police weren't required. While the crowd, made up largely of Paul supporters, Mitt Romney supporters and a smattering of Rick Santourm fans, disagreed on a lot during the four hours, things stayed peaceful.
Brent Stafford, who was was arrested in the aftermath of the first caucus being shut down, got things started in a pro-Paul way right off the bat. A Paul supporter, Stafford won the election to be the chairman for the caucus by picking up 480 votes to beat David Cole. Cole, the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, picked up 402 votes.
After it was noticed the that the combined total of 882 was less than the announced attendance of 903, a recount was called for by a member of the crowd. A motion was made to recount, and then an amendment was made to count abstentions in the recount, but both measures were defeated and Stafford was accepted as chairman.
"I was going to do the same thing (tonight) that I did at the last one, but they didn't want to listen to nominations for chair (last time)," Stafford said. "It was clear I was nominated for chair (last time), and they didn't want to hear. Then things went out of control."
Following Stafford's election and the election of Kyle Albert as secretary, it was time to go over the rules. A large cheer erupted when Stafford read a provision that allowed recording devices at the caucus. A big point of contention in the last caucus was the prohibiting of recording devices.
Before the rules could be approved, an issue in the crowd had to be settled. An elderly man questioned a rule that said all delegates had to be registered Republicans because he said he was an independent who planned on voting for Paul. After a short discussion, Stafford then asked the man to leave because the caucus was limited to Republicans.
Once that situation was dealt with, the rules passed 566 to 266. However, the rules debate would come up again later in the meeting.
During the voting of slates for District 2, a question came up over whether or not residents of District 3 could vote for District 2 delegates and vice versa. The agreed-upon rules allowed a cross-District vote to take place, but some questioned if that was fair.
A motion was put in place to amend the rules to allow only District 2 residents to vote for District 2 slates. In the end, the amendment failed and every member of the caucus was allowed to vote for slates in each District.
The slates also became an issue. In the contest for District 2, the pro-Paul slate Constitutional Conservatives and pro-Rick Santorum group Take Back America filled the paperwork with the names and contact information without issue. The Romney slate, which was almost named The Mitt Romney for President Because He's the Only One Who Can Beat Barack Obama slate, had an issue with its paperwork. Namely, it didn't have any paper.
The Romney slate had the information as a PDF and offered to submit it electronically. The rules said that all paperwork must be submitted in a written copy, leading to a discussion of just what written means and if an electronic copy would be Kosher within the rules. During the debate, the Romney team was able to find a printer and print out a copy, thus ending the argument.
Voting, which had to be done twice once the whole who can vote in District 2 conundrum was solved, finally took place with Paul coming out on top with 443 votes. Romney was second with 250 votes and Take America Back had 123 votes. The win gave Paul the 59 District 2 delegates.
The District 3 race was just between Paul and Romney. Even with Santorum supporters presumably switching sides to join Romney, Paul still came out on top with 446 votes to Romney's 333. With the win, Paul took the 88 District 3 delegates.
Those delegates will go onto the Congressional District Caucuses April 21.
Only Paul's slate applied for the state race. Romney tried to get a slate in, but Stafford hurried things along saying they had all night to get organized and they weren't. Again, Romney got the paperwork in under the wire, but it was ruled ineligible, giving Paul the 147 state convention delegates.
"We just had the most people here tonight," Stafford said. "When you have the most people, slates get voted in."
Zoe Soto-Gilbert, a Romney supporter, said she wasn't disappointed by the results of the night.
"Caucuses are always difficult anyway—I love the primaries," she said. "This is the way that it was done. Sadly we were tremendously, unjustly railroaded on March 17 and it was very difficult to get the momentum going again. It was very difficult to get people to believe in the caucus."
Soto-Gilbert said a few factors favored the Paul crowd.
"First of all, the fact that Governor Romney is doing so well and then today that Santorum dropped out—those two things, I believe that a lot of our supporters said OK I can wait until we meet Obama."