Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says the state’s presidential preference primary does not really matter. During a House Budget Committee hearing on Monday, Ashcroft, a Republican, says the delegates for president are determined at party caucuses – not the presidential primary.
“I just hate the idea of presiding over an election when we’re telling people to vote in the primary when I’m saying ‘No you should really vote in the caucus. That’s where your vote matters.’ Legally, the presidential primary is not required in any way to determine where the delegates are apportioned,” says Ashcroft.
He says that election is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“We’re spending about $8 million this year of Missouri taxpayer dollars and I just don’t think there’s a good return for the people of the state,” he says. “Now, if we weren’t going to do the caucuses and the presidential preference was what determined it, that’d be a different story.”
In 1986, the Missouri Legislature adopted a bill to hold a presidential preference primary in 1988. Some at the time said it was aimed at helping then-U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-St. Louis County, in his 1988 bid for president.
Then in 1998, the Legislature approved a bill with no expiration date that holds a presidential preference primary every four years. Senate Bill 709 was signed by then-Governor Mel Carnahan, a Democrat.
The state has held presidential preference primaries six straight times: in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020.
Missouri used presidential caucuses, like Iowa, in 1992 and 1996.
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