Missouri will still hold presidential primaries on Feb. 7, even though the results will not be used to determine the Republican Party national convention delegates. Instead, the Republican Party will choose its delegates at caucuses on March 17.
If the Missouri Republican Party were to use the primary, it would be in violation of national party rules and would run the risk of losing half of its 52 delegates to the 2012 Republican convention.
The Republican-controlled state legislature tried to move the primary to March 6, to adhere to national GOP rules that prohibit most states from holding a presidential nominating contest before March 6.
However, state law still requires Missouri to hold a presidential preference primary, as it has every four years since 2000.
One caucus will be held in each of Missouri’s 114 counties and the City of St. Louis.
Once voters gather at a caucus location, they will decide as a group how delegates will be selected, whether delegates will run individually or as a slate of candidates, whether the vote will use a secret ballot or be conducted publicly and other details.
The Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, is urging voters to vote, even though the GOP primary may not have any real impact on the presidential election. She noted that while 1.4 million voters participated in the 2008 presidential primaries, there were only about 20,000 people that participated in caucuses in 1996.
The presidential primaries in 2008 cost about $7 million.
Candidates for the presidential primary from Missouri began filing on Oct. 25. To get on the ballot, a candidate must pay $1,000. Republican candidates who entered the race on the first day of filing included former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, El Prado, NM; businessman Herman Cain, Stockbridge, GA; former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Boston, MA; and local resident Michael J. Meehan; St. Louis, MO.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, Austin, TX, signed up on Nov. 2. Then on Nov. 10 businessman Keith Drummond, Katy, TX; former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Manchester, NH; and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Wash. D.C. added their names to the list.
So far, no one has signed up for the presidential primary ballots of the Democratic, Libertarian or Constitution Parties, but filing doesn’t close until November 22. President Barack Obama is expected to run unopposed in the Democratic primary.