Recap: MO 4th Congressional District 2012 Caucus

This last Saturday, April 21st, Missouri held their 2nd level caucuses to actually select delegates to the Republican Convention this summer.  MO has eight districts with eight separate caucuses being held across the state.

Results by Congressional District (Unofficial)
Congressional District 1                        Congressional District 5
Delegates                                                         Delegates 
Heather Coil (Paul)                                        Mark Anthony Jones (Paul)
Connie Eller (Santorum)                              Ralph Munyan (Paul)
Tom Schweich (Romney)                             Paul Trask (Paul)
Elector                                                             Elector
David Stokes                                                  Stanley Cox
Congressional District 2                       Congressional District 6 
Delegates                                                         Delegates 
Allen Icet (Santorum)                                   Jim Willis (Romney)  
Phyllis Schlafly (Santorum)                          Jim Rooney (Gingrich) 
Jim Talent (Romney)                                    Matt Johnson (Santorum) 
Elector                                                             Elector
John Judd                                                      Matt Gerstner
Congressional District 3                       Congressional District 7 
Delegates                                                        Delegates 
Cody Baker (Romney)                                 Gordon Kinne (Romney)
Scott Dieckhaus (Romney)                          John Putnam (Santorum)
Mitch Hubbard (Santorum)                        Patsy Wilcox (Santorum)
Elector                                                             Elector
Penny Quigg                                                  Layne Morrill

Congressional District 4                      Congressional District 8

Delegates                                                       Delegates
Carla Young (Romney)                               Scott R Clark (Romney)
* Bill Kartsonis (Romney)                           Jason Smith (Romney)
Mary Ellen Snider (Romney)                     David Courtway (Romney)
(* = Caucus Delegate from Cass County)
Elector                                                            Elector
Stanley Cox                                                   Bob Green

“A total of 12 delegates were bound to Mitt Romney, 7 delegates were bound to Rick Santorum, 4 delegates were bound to Ron Paul, and 1 delegate was bound to Newt Gingrich.” — MO GOP.

Each congressional district selected three Delegates, three Alternate Delegates and one Elector.

Twenty-five additional delegates will be bound at the State Convention in June. The State Chairman, National Committeeman, and National Committeewoman will also serve as delegates. In total, Missouri has 52 national delegates. MO GOP

Mrs. Crucis and I, retired and unused to rising early, drove to Sedalia, MO, the site of the 4th District’s caucus, Friday afternoon.  We weren’t sure if we would be delegates or not until after we returned from the NRA convention and found letters from the state and district GOP committees confirming our selection.

The Cass County delegate slate had been protested. I wrote about the Cass County Caucus last month. While we were traveling to St. Louis for the NRA convention, a hearing was being held by the 4th District’s Credentialing Committee.

When the Cass County Caucus was over, the county delegate slate was short a significant number of delegates and alternate delegates.  According to the state rules, a complete slate had to be presented to the District or Cass County would lose votes. The Cass County Caucus Chairman filled the empty slots proportionally with names provided by the Romney, Paul and Gingrich group leaders.

At least two protests were lodged.  One due to the caucus meeting site being moved from the smaller Justice Center to the Harrisonville High School days before the actual caucus date. The second protest was about the Chairman filling in the empty slots in order to present a complete slate to the District and State Caucuses. (According to the rules adopted by the Cass County Caucus, the Chairman had that option in order to present a complete slate of delegates to the State and District Credentialing Committees. After the hearing, the Credentialing Committee dismissed all protests and the Cass slate was accepted as submitted with the empty slots filled by the Chairman.

As it turned out, Cass County with 43 delegates was the second largest delegation after Boone County with 52 delegates.  The number of Cass delegates turned out to be potentially crucial later in the District caucus.

After we passed through registration and credentialing, Mrs. Crucis and I found the area reserved for Cass County and sat in the front row.  I wanted to get as good a view of the proceedings as I could. I have a hearing problem that makes it difficult for me to hear when there is a lot of background noise or conversation.

One of the first orders of business was to seat the delegates. When noses were counted, it was discovered a significant number of Cass delegates failed to show.  Of those delegates present, five were from the Romney camp, four from Gingrich, eleven alternates from the Ron Paul group but only fourteen out of thirty-eight of the Santorum Cass County delegates were present. Because the seats had to be filled or we’d lose votes, the empty seats were filled by the alternates.  In the end, we had enough to fill all our allocated spaces with a few alternates left over to fill-in if and as needed. The seats could not be empty except at recesses.  If someone needed a nature break, an alternate subbed while the delegate was gone.

The caucus went quickly until the Rules Chairman presented the proposed rules.  Immediately, the Boone County delegation (all Ron Paul supporters) moved to amend the rules. They proposed at least three changes. One was declared inappropriate not being within the realm of the District authority and another was later withdrawn.  The primary motion was to delete the use of slates and instead nominate each national delegate and elector individually. Each candidate would be given an up-down vote until a slate of three delegates, thee alternates and one elector was selected. The motion was a complex scheme that would give the larger counties (Boone and Cass) more voting power than the smaller counties (some with only two delegates to the caucus.) The motion was voted down but not by a large margin.

Next was the presentation of the slates.  Two slates had already been prepared—one a Unity slate of Romney delegates and another for Santorum.  One Cass County delegate, Bill Kartsonis, was a member of the Unity delegation slate. 

After the rules discussion, a group from a number of smaller counties presented a “Mixed” slate containing one delegate and alternate each for Romney, Santorum and Paul.  The Boone County group presented a “True Republican” slate of Paul delegates.

The Nominating Committee “vetted” each candidate.  The rules stated that all national delegate candidates and the electors, must be credentialed.  As the names of each delegate from each slate was read, they rose and spoke their name and county thus eliminating any doubt who would be our delegates.

This was the same procedure that was attempted at our Cass County caucus last month.  The winning Santorum leadership refused to have their delegates stand to be recognized.  I still don’t understand that reasoning.  Being recognized before their caucus peers should have been an honor and may have imposed a sense commitment to the delegates.

Perhaps if that sense of commitment had been imposed, more of the Santorum delegates would have appeared at the District caucus. Instead, only 1/3 of the Cass County Santorum delegates actually made the trip to Sedalia.

The voting began.  I don’t remember the exact count but the rules required the winning slate receive a majority of the votes, 50%+1 vote.  In the first round, no slate had a majority.  The Unity slate had the largest number of votes followed by the Ron Paul slate with the Santorum slate in third.  The “Mixed” slate was a distant fourth.

Per the rules, the slate with the least votes was dropped and voting began anew.  Here is the important fact of Cass filling all its seats.  Cass County was the second largest delegation present. The vote differences between the top three slates weren’t far apart. As I remember, if all the Cass Santorum delegates had been present, it could have been sufficient to bounce the Ron Paul slate from second to third putting the Santorum slate in second place. Or, had the Santorum delegates aligned with the Boone County contingent, they would have had enough votes to make the Ron Paul slate the winner over the Unity/Romney slate.

It was also possible that the Santorum slate might have won.  Many of the Santorum supporters, including many from the Cass County, switched to the Unity slate.  A number stated they felt “abandoned” by Santorum’s suspension of his campaign and questioned whether he was still a candidate.  If there had been more Santorum supporters present, perhaps they could have been in the majority and the district would be sending Santorum delegates to Tampa instead of Romney delegates. The difference between the winning Unity slate and the slate with the next highest votes was half of the number of missing Cass Santorum delegates.

All that is speculation of course.  The absent Cass Santorum delegates did not appear. The Unity slate won a clear majority on the second ballot.

I congratulated Bill Kartsonis on his selection as a delegate to Tampa. He was the only Santorum leader from Cass County to be present.  He was also the only Cass County Santorum leader to represent their side at the protest hearing before the Credentialing Committee.  He didn’t win his case but he had the fortitude to stand up for his convictions.  

Kudos to you, Bill. You deserve them and congratulations for being one of our delegates at the Republican National Convention. I know you’ll do us proud.