The word “non-binding” was thrown around often when either previewing or analyzing Missouri’s GOP primary. And with good reason: The real battle for delegates will take place at the party’s March caucuses.
Although former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum easily won Missouri's Republican primary, it doesn't necessarily ensure that he'll get the Show Me State's delegates. Santorum's primary victory—along with wins in the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses—helped revive the former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
The delegate situation will be decided at the Missouri Republican Party's caucuses, which begin in March. It's a complicated process that involves participation at the county, congressional and state level.
So how does a person participate in a county caucus? For one thing, any registered voter that declares that they are a Republican can contribute at the March caucuses. Jonathon Prouty, a spokesman for the Missouri GOP, said that it’s not required for a potential caucus-goer to have voted in the February 7 primary to attend a caucus.
“There’s no partisan voter registration in Missouri, so we don’t have a Republican list or Democratic list,” Prouty said. “So if they come and they say they’re a Republican, they can participate.”
As for the actual substance of the meeting, Prouty said each county caucus will resemble other formal meetings that utilize Robert’s Rules of Order. Each meeting will convene, elect a chairman, pass rules and vote on delegates.
Attendees at these caucuses will select delegates and alternates to the Congressional District Conventions and State Convention. At the eight congressional conventions, delegates chosen at the county level will select three delegates and alternates to the National Convention and one presidential elector.
At the state convention, delegates will select a slate of 25 at-large delegates and alternates to the National Convention and two at-large presidential electors. The delegates selected at the congressional conventions and state convention will be bound to their candidate on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention.
Currently, the caucus locations for St. Louis County and St. Charles County have yet to be determined. Jefferson County residents that want to participate can go to the Hillsboro R-3 Intermediate School in Hillsboro. The caucus is expected to start at 10 a.m.
More information about the allocation and structure of the caucuses can be found on the Missouri Republican Party’s website.
While Santorum was the only candidate to campaign in Missouri in the run up to the state's primary, at least one other contender is gearing up for battle next month. Romney’s supporters took to the phone lines this week to criticize Santorum. Included on the call was former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Missouri, U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, and state Auditor Tom Schweich.