The Republican caucuses are underway, with the first event having taken place in southwest Missouri’s Barry County.
Between now and March 24, 141 more caucuses will take place across the state at the county or township level. Some counties have more than one because of population size. Smith says, “Because St. Louis County is right at a million people, 991,000, theirs would just be too large without doing it by township.”
Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party, Lloyd Smith, says most of those will just select delegates and alternates to upcoming conventions. “In some counties they may say we want to bind our delegates to a particular candidate slate. That’s possible, but most counties won’t do that.”
Smith says those participating in local caucuses might not know what candidate a delegate supports. “Whether they’re bound to a particular candidate or not, there may be a lot of expression about who they stand for at the local caucuses.”
The number of delegates that come out of each caucus is based on the number of votes in the last presidential election for the GOP candidate. The largest in the state is Jackson County, who will select 174 delegates. Knox, Schuyler, Scotland and Worth Counties tie for the smallest, and will each select two delegates.
There is no limit to how many can show up at county and township-level caucuses. Smith says those who want to participate will need to provide a photo identification, and signing in verifies that they are a Republican for the purposes of that caucus.
Delegates and alternates chosen at the county level for their congressional district convention April 21 will choose 3 delegates and alternations to the National Convention and 1 presidential elector. Delegates chosen at the county level for the State Convention June 2 vote on 25 at-large delegates and alternates to the National Convention and 2 at-large presidential electors.
Before being chosen, delegates and alternates selected in the congressional district and state conventions will identify the candidate they support. They are then bound to that candidate heading into the National Convention.
Smith says this will not be like some state caucuses, where “winners” are announced by the next morning. “I’d say by right at the end of March we’ll pretty well start to have a feel for who probably were delegates that got selected. Even if they’re not bound, we’ll probably have a feel for it.” More firm information will not be available until after the two state-level conventions.
AUDIO: Mike Lear reports, :58