JEFFERSON CITY - The process of deciding the fate of Missouri's 52 delegates will begin in earnest as Republican caucuses across the state roll into action this Saturday."The caucus is the first step in the process that will bind Missouri's national delegates to the Republican convention,"
Missouri already held a non-binding primary on February 7, won by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. The primary was not counted because of a conflict between the Republican National Party and individual states who wanted to hold their primaries at earlier dates in order to stay relevant in the process of selecting a candidate.
The Republican National Party told certain states who held their primaries before Super Tuesday, March 6, they would lose half of their delegates at the National Convention this August. The Missouri General Assembly failed to change or eliminate the primary date both in regular and special session last year prompting action from the state Republican party.
The February date for the primary had already been set by state law so the state Republicans opted for a caucus later in March in order to avoid penalties.
The Missouri caucus process is proving to be a complicated one.
Beginning this Saturday, voters will select delegates to attend Missouri congressional district conventions held in April. The eight newly formed districts will each select three delegates to head to Tampa Bay in August for the National Convention, 24 in total.Those 24 delegates, combined with 3 Republican National Committee members and 25 delegates chosen at the Missouri State Convention this June, account for Missouri's total of 52 delegates.
"Missouri is a little bit unique in that we don't have a straw poll attached to the caucuses," said Prouty.
Any registered voter can participate in their district's caucus. Each district will have their own format to decide on various chairmans, committee members, and delegates."Whether the delegates are bound or unbound, whether the delegates are voted on as a slate or individually, those types of decisions are all up to each individual caucus and the majority of the participants there," said Prouty.
St. Louis and parts of Kansas City will hold their caucuses a week later because of St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
The Missouri Secretary of State's Office could not estimate what voter turn out would be.