2 Paul supporters arrested at Mo. caucus

March 18, 2012 at 6:54 PM
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ST. CHARLES, Mo., March 18 (UPI) -- Two supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul are facing charges after a brouhaha that shut down a Missouri caucus this weekend, authorities say.

St. Peters police said two people they identified as Paul supporters were arrested for trespassing after receiving "numerous warnings" to leave the school property where a caucus was being held Saturday, ABC News reported. Police said Brent Safford, 45, of O'Fallon and Kenneth Suitter, 55, of St. Charles were booked for trespassing and released.

"It's like the Hatfields and the McCoys around here," Tom Kipers, a former St. Charles County GOP chairman, told ABC News.

No delegates were elected at the St. Charles County caucus, but a local GOP official said in a statement the caucus still plans to send delegates to the congressional-district and state conventions.

"It was a joke. It was a complete joke," David Nelson of St. Peters, who participated in the St. Charles County caucus, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Not all of Missouri's local caucuses were held Saturday and ABC said it wasn't clear which presidential candidate would garner the biggest share of the state's 52 delegates to the national convention. State Republican officials said it appeared very few counties chose to "bind" their delegates to any particular candidate.

Missouri switched from a primary election to the caucus system this year for distributing its delegates, though Rick Santorum won the state's non-binding Feb. 7 primary, 55 percent to 25 percent for Mitt Romney and 12 percent for Paul. Newt Gingrich was not on the ballot.

The Post-Dispatch reported other caucuses were held outdoors because so many people showed up to participate. Since it has been 16 years since the state has used the caucus system, some caucus leaders were a bit rusty implementing the rules.

In Jefferson County, Clarence Mason said he made sure to bring along some food.

"Any place working with Robert's Rules of Order, you bring food," said Mason, 62, of De Soto. "I like to call them Robert's Rules of Disorder."

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