Huffpost Politics

Missouri County Caucus Shut Down Before Vote, 'Embarrassing' St. Charles

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The results of Missouri's largest county caucus remain uncertain after it was shut down Saturday before delegates could be elected and police were called to intervene.

The St. Charles County caucus, held in a filled-to-capacity gymnasium at Francis Howell North High School, got off to a late start and then faced further delays when a caucus-goer refused orders to put down a video camera, and two Ron Paul supporters declined to leave and were arrested for trespassing, according to The New York Times.

Five separate agencies, including state police, were reportedly called to the scene.

Paul's supporters were involved in other clashes throughout the state, including in Clay County, where they tried unsuccessfully to oust the county's GOP leader, and in Kansas City, where an organizer threatened to forcibly remove them.

Eugene Dokes, chairman of the St. Charles County GOP, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that as the meeting grew more tense, he became worried that Paul supporters were "beginning to get physical."

WATCH video of the caucus, shot by YouTube user IamBrandonElliott and picked up by Fox 2:




Dokes said he was asked by police to shut down the meeting, while the St. Peters, Mo., police issued a statement declaring that organizers chose to suspend the meeting.

"There was something awry going on that was behind the scenes," GOP county committee member Frank Eggering told the Post-Dispatch. "I was embarrassed by what was done, and I think we embarrassed the party."

The future of the vote remains undecided, with options including a second county caucus in a few weeks or dividing the county caucus into smaller meetings to make it more manageable.

Not every Missouri county held a caucus last weekend, and it's not yet clear how any of the Republican presidential candidates fared in the delegate selection.

"The real winner in St. Charles was Obama, because such actions in the Republican Party only support the Democrat side," Mark Perkins, a Republican who attended the caucus, told the Post-Dispatch. "This was the worst thing that could happen."

The caucus comes more than a month after the state's "beauty pageant" primary, which was won by Rick Santorum but gained him no delegates.

Around the Web

Missouri Caucus Anecdotes: Arguments, Arrests, and a Good Day for Ron Paul

Santorum ahead in Missouri caucus

2 Paul supporters arrested at Mo. caucus

St. Charles County Republicans embarrassed by caucus shutdown

Police Intervene, Arrest Ron Paul Backers at Missouri Caucus

Missouri Republican Caucus Meltdown Caught On Tape

'Mass hysteria' in Mo. as Republicans caucus on presidential race

 
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