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Missouri Primary: Does It Even Matter?

Karla Robinson |
February 6, 2012 | 5:35 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter


(Creative Commons)
(Creative Commons)
Because of the changes to the Republican primary rules, Missouri’s primary tomorrow will be non-binding and carry little weight. What’s worse, the state is paying millions for what state politicians are calling a “meaningless” election.

The amendments to the primary rules states, “no primary, caucus, or convention to elect, select, allocate, or bind delegates to the national convention shall occur prior to the first Tuesday in March in the year in which a national convention is held,” excluding Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. It also requires any state that does not comply to sacrifice half of its delegates.

The Republican National Committee enacted these amendments to lengthen the presidential nominating process. According to RNC chairman Michael Steele, the changes “ensure that we emerge from the primaries with the strongest Republican nominee possible to defeat Barack Obama,” he said in a statement. Extending the process also helps to build up attention and voter enthusiasm before the actual election.

Rather than sacrifice half its delegates—like Florida did—Missouri chose to make its February 7th primary non-binding and hold a state caucus on March 17th to determine the delegates.

The state had originally attempted to delay its primary until March by passing a law but Governor Jay Nixon vetoed several bills because there were erroneous provisions or elements attached.

Missouri Sen. Kevin Engler told KMBC the non-binding primary is “the dumbest thing I’ve seen the legislature do.”

“So we’re going to spend $6 million to $7 million on an election that’s completely meaningless,” he said. 

Moreover, because the election does not determine whom the delegates are pledged to, there is likely to be a smaller voter turnout, the Rolla Daily News reported.

For Florida, sticking to its early primary meant sacrificing 49 delegates but maintaining political influence on the direction of the race. Oppositely, Missouri’s primary has been likened to a beauty contest: a lot of fanfare for little impact.


Reach Staff Reporter Karla Robinson here.



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