Jefferson County Caucus Preview

14 Mar

Today, county GOP members gathered at the Hillsboro R-3 Intermediate School to begin the process of officially awarding our convention delegates to the presidential candidate of our choice. This is not to be confused with Missouri’s February 7 presidential primary; that was a non-binding “beauty contest,” as the pundits like to call it. While this caucus already occurred, I’m going to preview it.

The countywide primary results may give us a preview of the caucus. Here’s how Jefferson County voted:

  • Rick Santorum – 56.7%
  • Mitt Romney – 20.6%
  • Ron Paul – 14.7%
  • Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot

These results are similar to what happened statewide:

  • Santorum – 55.2%
  • Romney – 25.3%
  • Paul – 12.2%

The conventional wisdom is that caucuses, since they require more of a time investment, draw more hardcore, committed voters than primaries do. But I suspect that the fact that our primary was non-binding kept a lot of less-interested voters away, so the primary electorate may be pretty similar to the caucus attendees.

However, this caucus system is rather complicated, so the results at the county level won’t say much. It doesn’t appear as if any real numbers will come out of the county caucuses – just lists of delegates. But these delegates will likely profess their support for their favorite candidate, so we can judge the delegates based on who they said they support. Santorum had the most supporters in the primary, but Paul is known for having committed voters that eagerly attend caucus events. Both of these candidates appeared in Missouri over the weekend, and Romney made a later appearance.

Judging by his big primary win, one would have to assume Santorum will do well, both county- and state-wide, on Saturday. Committed as they are, it seems unlikely Paul voters can overcome his big deficit here.

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