‘St. Patrick’s Day Massacre’ Takes Place During GOP Presidential Caucus in St. Charles, Missouri

Today may go down in history as “The St. Patrick’s Day Massacre” as the day some 2,000 people walked away from Francis Howell North High School in St. Peters, Mo., after political bedlam broke out during the 2012 St. Charles County Republican Presidential Caucus.

GOP voters began showing up at the high school two hours before the caucus was set to begin at 10 a.m.  Though the meeting didn’t start on time as organizers worked to accommodate the near-overflow crowd, attendees would get more than they bargained for before the day ended.

The caucus began shortly after 11 a.m. with an invocation and pledge of allegiance.  It was followed by a reading of the rules by County GOP Central Committee Member Bryan Spencer and an introduction of County GOP Chair Eugene Dokes.

Dokes reiterated the importance of the rules and emphasized the ban on recording devices before pausing to implore a man in the bleachers to turn off his video camera or face arrest.

When the man refused to put away his tripod-mounted camera, Dokes asked members of the St. Peters Police Department to arrest the man and escort him out of the building.  That, of course, drew heated objections from members of the crowd — including Ron Paul supporters and others — who seemed to believe transparency should trump rules during the caucus.  After being drowned out by the volume of those objections, GOP officials conferred with police and, within a half hour, more than a dozen more uniformed officers arrived at the scene.

Order was never fully restored, and, after much threatening, GOP officials announced that police officials had advised them to shutdown the meeting due to safety concerns.  Soon after, Caucus Chair Matt Ehlen announced that he had received a motion and a second to do just that — adjourn the caucus.

As a result of that adjournment, according to Ehlen, no GOP delegates will represent the Show-Me State’s largest Republican stronghold at the congressional district, state and national conventions.

Most of the people with whom I spoke after the meeting shared a belief that Ron Paul supporters were responsible for most of the disruptive behavior.  Others shared the belief that county GOP officials — namely Dokes — should bear much of the blame for the outcome of the caucus.

According to attendees who contacted me after the event, at least one man was arrested at the scene.  According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, two men were arrested.  The black police helicopter seen circling above the school after the event did not land. <sarc>

See also:  This KSDK-TV report.

UPDATE 3/17/12 at 3:42 p.m. Central:  The video below, poor audio and all, purports to show police arresting one Brent Stafford. But for what?

UPDATE 3/17/12 at 4:09 p.m. Central:  Here’s a good piece by Examiner.com’s Doug Edelman.

UPDATE 3/17/12 at 6:25 p.m. Central:  Even The New York Times had a reporter there.  Here’s his article.

UPDATE 3/17/12 at 6:57 p.m. Central:  This video below shows the view from the other side of the gymnasium.  Pretty damning of the GOP folks in charge.

UPDATE 3/17/12 at 10:26 p.m. Central:  A post published on The Daily Paul offers Brent Stafford’s take on today’s events, including some deal-making that seems to have preceded the caucus.

UPDATE 3/17/12 at 10:52 p.m. Central:  Click here to see what happened today during the Greene County GOP Caucus in Springfield, Mo.

UPDATE 3/18/12 at 10:03 p.m. Central:  I Am A Man Without A Political Party

UPDATE 3/22/12 at 5:45 p.m. Central:  Preliminary indications are that another caucus will be held, according to this article.

UPDATE 3/23/12 Almost Noon Central: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch just reported that a new caucus will be held April 10 at 7 p.m. at the St. Charles Convention Center and that recording devices will be allowed.

UPDATE 4/11/12 at 7:31 a.m. Central: Ron Paul wins do-over St. Charles County caucus.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

This entry was posted in Local Politics, Presidential Election, St. Charles County Caucus 2012 and tagged , , , , , by BobMcCarty. Bookmark the permalink.

About BobMcCarty

A native of Enid, Oklahoma, Bob McCarty graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in journalism in 1984. During the next two decades, he served stints as an Air Force public affairs officer, a political campaign manager, a technology sales consultant and a public relations professional. Today, Bob spends most of his time researching topics, writing about them and publishing those writings. When he’s not writing online, he’s working as an author. Bob’s first published book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice (October 2011), chronicles the life story and wrongful conviction of Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran. In his second book, THE CLAPPER MEMO (May 2013), Bob connects the dots between a memo signed by James R. Clapper Jr. — the man now serving as our nation’s top intelligence official — and the deaths of dozens of Americans in Afghanistan at the hands of our so-called Afghan “allies” wearing the uniforms of their nation’s military, police and security forces. Bob is married, has three sons and lives in the St. Louis area. Bob is available for media and blogger interviews. Simply drop a comment here, leaving your name, organization, phone number, e-mail address and area of interest. He’ll try to respond as soon as possible.

40 thoughts on “‘St. Patrick’s Day Massacre’ Takes Place During GOP Presidential Caucus in St. Charles, Missouri

  1. THANKS for the link, Bob!

    I believe Eugene is more to blame than the Paulian rabble rousers. A little decorum, a little deference, a little diplomacy, and maybe even just calling to order and entertaining a motion on the cameras might have defused the entire thing!

  2. Regardless of what may have taken place inside the gymnasium, it is clear that the crowd assembled outside at the time of Mr. Stafford’s arrest was peaceable. The First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to peaceable assembly, and it appears that in arresting Mr. Stafford for “trespass” (even though he was on public property) the St. Peters Police Department has violated that First Amendment guarantee. The Freedom Center of Missouri intends to work to have the charges against Mr. Stafford dropped.

  3. Bob – This was the most disgusting display I have ever witnessed and was the first and last caucus I will ever attend. Every one of the 2,000 attendees who gave up their Saturday to stand in line for two hours, eager to cast their vote, was disenfranchised by the St. Charles County Republican Central Committee, mostly Rick Santorum supports. What a bunch of crooked, lying politicians. God help America.

  4. The first video seemed pretty biased. The second video showed a man speaking to a crowd and being arrested. I wonder what he was doing that was so terribly wrong? If it was because he was “trespassing”, I wonder why only him and not the others. There were plenty of law enforcement there to arrest many more. I think it should be mandatory for all caucuses to be recorded. That way it cuts down on the system being shanghaied by the minority. This has been happening all across the country in caucuses. I’m sure you have seen the video gone viral from last week’s Athens-Fulton Co. delegate slating. If not, have a looksy.

  5. @Dave Roland Obama just signed away the right to protest two weeks ago. We don’t have very many of our Bill of Rights left since Bush and Obama took office.

  6. I can’t speak for St Charles but I can tell you what went on at mine. The Paul camp kept trying to interrupt, get the rules changed, not abide by the rules which were clearly stated to prior and in writing, submitted their delegate slate at the last minute and poorly handwritten (said they didn’t have access to a printer.) Then,, after the first vote was a tie between Romney and Santorum (53-53, Paul had 21), there needed to be a clarification because more people voted then were verified voters. The caucus was clearly informed that the vote was getting clarified to match the roll to insure there wasn’t any double voting. They were to reiterate their original vote (because this was NOT a second vote.) When the Paul people knew their vote was not going to garner them any delegates, several “changed” their vote to Romney (after being told more than once that they were to state their original vote.) It was very obvious as one man was originally on their slate and then agreed to get scratched off when they had submitted too many delegates and another man had given a speech in support of paul. It gives credence to the romney/paul connection rumors, as I personally witnessed it. This set up a massive amount of confusion and the next 1 1/2 hrs. went like that. They even inserted themselves into a section after the last tie when they were told several times to remain in their section. It created even more confusion and disruption. I’m sorry but their m.o. all along was to disrupt, NOT follow the rules and create confusion. I know because a relative is one of his supporters and thinks they are just using brilliant strategy!! And most will not vote for anyone else Paul. But his cult of personality is just like the one that put the current admin in office.

  7. The man using a video recorder was not really breaking caucus rules. According to parliamentary procedure, such rules can only be made after an elected chair appoints a rules committee, which submit a list of proposed caucus rules that are then debated and amended according to the will of the caucus body (attendees).

    The caucus committee did indeed state that they had made a rule forbidding recording devices. Yet besides their lack of authority to make such a rule, one must wonder what could even motivate this rule after the confirmed and accused fraud that has plagued this year’s Presidential primary race (which have already resulted in a handful of resignations among GOP state chairs, along with clear examples of fraud where those responsible were not held accountable). The logical assumption was that the Saint Charles central committee was also planning on hijacking the caucus by going against the rules in a way for which they did not wish to be held accountable. This assumption was confirmed as the caucus went forward:

    My observations include the following…

    The roles of the temporary chair are to open the meeting, take nominations for permanent chair (to be elected by majority of the body), and conduct the votes for chair all according to parliamentary procedure (refer to Robert’s Rules of Order 11th edition “Mass Meetings and Conventions”). The temporary chair is to then cede position to the permanent chair, who is to conduct the remainder of the meeting.

    1) Eugene Dokes appointed the credentials committee. This committee basically decides who gets to vote, which is why they can only appointed by a permanent chair elected by a majority of the body.
    1a) When “Points of Order” were called on this breach of the rules, the points were ignored, which is also against the rules.

    2) Eugene Dokes appointed the rules committee, which basically decides the rules for how the procedings go (including how delegates are to be elected and potentially allocated). That is why the rules committee, like the credentials committee, can only be appointed by a permanent chair elected by a majority of the body.
    2a) When “Points of Order” were called on this breach of the rules, the points were ignored, which is also against the rules.
    2b) The rules to be submitted by the rules committee were never read or allowed to be voted on

    Eugene Dokes then called for nominations of chair. Nominations must be recognized, do not require the floor, and do not require a second. Anyone at the caucus heard Brent Stafford nominated loud and clear by several hundred people simultaneously. After nominations are closed, all those who were nominated (who did not refuse nomination) must be voted upon. If no nominee wins a majority vote, the process is repeated until one does.

    I never never heard a motion to close nominations (nor a second). To my knowlege, no vote was taken to close nominations.

    3) Eugene Dokes took a vote for Matt Ehler as chair before closing nominations.
    3a) When “Points of Order” were called on this breach of the rules, the points were ignored, which is also against the rules.
    3b) He took no vote for any other nominee.
    3c) When the vote was taken, several members of the body called for division. A call for division (a documented head count, rather than a verbal count) must be recognized, does not require the floor, and does not require a second. The call for division was not recognized, which is against the rules.
    3d) The results of the verbal vote for Matt Ehler as chair were called as “Ayes won”, which was not clearly the case. Some have told me they felt the “Nays” distictly won. Either way there is no way this verbal vote could reasonably have been called among a body of 2500 members in a gym.

    4) The caucus was declared adjourned without a 2/3 majority vote. This is against the rules, and does not officially adjourn a mass meeting according to the rules.

    According to the parliamentary procedure adopted as the default governing rules by the Missouri GOP, when the chair leaves a meeting still in session, the chair can be declared vacant and a new vote for chair may be taken according to the rules. Alternatively, if the procedings of a meeting are held without regard to rules, the results are invalid and members may conduct their own “rump convention” according to the rules, in order to be able to conduct the necessary busniess and submit valid results. This procedure was followed, chaired temporarily by Brent Stafford, before Brent was arrested for trespassing. When the remaining body was expelled from the (public) property of the caucus location and carried the meeting to Wapelhorst Park, they were told by the GOP (according to my understanding) that their results would not recognized because the meeting was not held at the official caucus location (from which the body had been expelled).

    Many other occurances that I do not mention here took place in relation to this caucus which testify to the frank crookedness of those who conducted the meeting. I give this account to simply address the specific issues that have been brought up in public discussion. I hope my account will help to set the record straight, and to offer insight to those who may believe reports that suggest the meeting was shut down because Ron Paul supporters attempted to “hijack” the meeting or were being intentionally disruptive. From my perspective, that was most obviously not the case. It was the central committee people who were breaking the rules (presumably to manipulate the results), and it was the Ron Paul supporters who knew the rules, were following the rules, and were seeking open transparency.

    I would like to add that the knowledge I have from being involved in the process ahead of time gave me a near-full expectation that what did happen would happen. For example, I know that Bryan Spencer personally told the county Ron Paul grassroots campaign co-coordinator that if Paul were to win the caucus, he would do everything in his power to invalidate the results. That is exactly what they have done.

  8. @ conservative soapbox. they even moved sections when they were told to stay in their seats? oh my gosh!! call the police!

  9. As a relatively new MO resident and never having done a caucus before, I got a rude awakening at the Cass County GOP caucus this morning.

    First, they changed the location the day before, which threw myself and lots of other folks for a loop.

    The GOP website said my caucus was at 10:30 am, nothing more. It did not say people would be locked out if they were late, or that it was encouraged to show up hours in advance. I showed up at 10:34 after figuring out the new location, and was turned away. What kind of system has that restrictive a time window for voting? A system that favors people with lots of free time, that’s what. Casual voters with lives need not apply.

    It also wasn’t clear what the heck I would actually be voting on. I was researching the candidates the night before and then realized I wasn’t going to be voting for candidates, but just some delegates to cast votes at a convention. Just utterly bizarre. But I never even got the chance to do that.

  10. Pingback: MISSOURI GONE WILD: Caucuses Disrupted by Ron Paul Supporters : The Other McCain

  11. Way too much drama about a man who doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in —- of being elected. The Paul people were disgraceful.

  12. Pingback: 'St. Patrick’s Day Massacre’ Takes Place During GOP Presidential Caucus in St. Charles, Missouri | Saving the Republic: News, Videos & Opinion

  13. I have two main points. First I willay ditto to everything that Drew Stonebraker siad in his posted comments. The second point is that Ton Paul supporters were NOT the only group protesting the disregard of the Missouri Republican Party rules and Robert’s Rules of Order. The Romney people were also calling for division of the vote and Points of order. If you look at your video, all the Captains wearing Blue shirts were Romney’s captains. The Ron Paul Captains had the yellow folders with pink stripes on them. Wugene Dokes is a known Santorum supporter, as were many of the members of the St. Sharles County Republican Central Committee. Eugene Dokes and Brian spencer had an agenda to promote Rick Santorum and to shut out the Ron Apul and the Romney supporters, which together accounted for what looked to be at least 80% of the Caucus attendees. Also Brent Stafford was arrested by St. Peters Police. I witnessed it first hand. They said they were arresting him for tresspassing. That in itself was a ridiculous thing to do. As for as the meeting being adjourned for safety issue, I felt perfectly safe inside that gymnasium. Although it seemed that Dokes, Spencer, and the Matt Ehlen were conducting a caucus the way it would have been conducted in the old USSR.

  14. Ron Paul supporters have created chaos at other State’s meetings!

    Grow up people! This election is too important!

  15. Too funny!! Now maybe all those TEA Party Republicans that want smaller government as long as they don’t touch Social Security and Medicaid will understand why they really are not all that..

  16. After what happened in Georgia no reasonable person can blame RP supporters for wanting video documentation thus the suggest by one commenter that a motion to allow should have been considered was at minimum wise.

  17. @ capital r- Maybe I wasn’t clear ;)- yes they did purposely move into the wrong section. This was a very crowded space and there was a lot of confusion and the chair was trying to segregate the slates due to the fact that the count kept getting messed up. They purposefully moved into one section in order to force a recount again of the section even though the caucus had run out if time and was looking to finalize a vote. St. Charles may have been different- I’m only recounting that the disruption at my caucus was from the Paul camp and was a coordinated effort.

  18. The cacus was a mistake and not the will of the people. Missouri has already spoken in our Primary.

  19. @dareisay On the contrary – local GOP powerbrokers have caused chaos at caucuses in places like Denver and Georgia by railroading through their agenda and delegates over the preference of the majority in attendance by repeatedly ignoring their own rules and attacking any who demand they follow them and be transparent.

    Wake up, our republic is too important to let power-hungry insiders rig the game!

  20. Caucuses are good because of transparency and being able to make the rules fair for those attending.

    ALL problems in this cycle have been due to lack of transparency and not following the rules.

    It is outright madness to blame this on Ron Paul supporters.

    There is clear evidence that this has happened all over the country, and that people are just trying to show up and vote.

    The “madness” comes when the people realize the rules are not being followed. That’s when you get the problem. Ron Paul supporters, Romney supporters, Gingrich supporters, and Santorum supporters are not the problem.

    The problem are corrupt people invoking fraud with suppression of any individual supporter’s votes. It is happening everywhere, and the sole source is from people not following the rules or not allowing transparency.

    It makes me absolutely irate that this has happened, and yet people say that a particular candidate has “hijacked” the convention.

    Let’s get this doublethink straight once and for all:


  21. @Carol.

    There was no need for any drama whatsoever… and it was all in the hands of Spencer and Dokes. Had they followed the GOP rules, there would have been no drama. I’m afraid their fear was that they would lose if they followed the rules, so they had to make sure that would not happen.

    Some have protested that if they were not allowed to make a rule banning recording devices, then someone should have taken it up with them earlier. This in fact did happen, and they refused to answer. It was then taken to the state GOP, who advised that the rule be voted to be changed at the caucus. This is what many of the protesters were seeking… and eventually Spencer and Dokes agreed to put it to a vote if everyone would put away their devices. It was at this point that they supposedly “regained control”, because the protesters then did indeed put away their devices so that the body could vote on it as agreed upon. Dokes then proceeded with the illegal appointments, completely ignoring the agreement they had just made. No vote was taken on the matter.

    Please ask yourself who are the ones to blame for the disruption. The ones refusing to follow the rules or their own agreements, or the ones protesting these refusals? Had the committee simply allowed a legitimate vote or had they allowed recording devices in the first place then none of this would have likely been an issue.

    We wanted everyone’s voice to be heard and counted, which again is why were the ones seeking transparency and why we were the ones who were willing to carry on the caucus, according to the rules, until everyone was ordered to be expelled by the committee and Brent was arrested during a peaceable assembly.

  22. All I can say is down in Springfield Ron Paul supporters caucused with Romney supporters to block Santorum getting very many delegates. Isn’t it funny that the very people who cry foul about taking one for the team and how bad Romney is for the country but support the Republican Party and Romney by banning together. Too funny and so sad. Why vote any more this is a joke.

  23. I’d like to know why Ron Paul is even running as a Republican, except that he knows he can’t even win as an independent or Libertarian. He claims to follow the constitution but anyone who has read his op-ed piece about the mixing of Church and State should be very leery on that basis alone. And, even though I am in disagreement with most of what Rick Santorum believes, at least his supporters in public don’t act obnoxious as do the Ron Paul supporters I have encountered.

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  26. @Consevative Soapbox What rules would that be? I thought all caucuses start out with Robert’s Rules and then after everyone is elected they can put forward rule changes to be voted on. You can’t walk in with new rules that only that precinct knows about. Like filming. That’s not a ‘rule’ but one that would need to be voted on.
    I know I wasn’t there, but I’d love for you to clarify what ‘new’ rules were presented and had they been voted on by the attendees.

  27. Pingback: Wild!…GOP Officials Shut Down St. Charles Caucus – Threaten Mass Arrests (Video) …Update: Police Chopper Called In- VIDEO | FavStocks

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  30. The rules and agenda of my township caucus were written and handed out upon your arrival. The chair took a vote and they were passed. But before the temporary chair could even begin business, the paulbots were hollering out for Roberts rules. They spend so much time “learning” the proper words to spit out but they don’t bother to learn that there is agenda to follow and the main purpose isn’t to be chaotic ;) AFTER the rules had long been passed and we were getting down the slate vote, the paulbots started to interrupt about wanting to adopt new rules, submit amendments (which were clearly stated in writing and voted on as valid rules for our caucus that any amendments had to be submitted in writing 15 minutes prior). And the crazy thing was we weren’t even at the platform part, which is what the amendments were for. This was calcuted to cause disruption to the voting part.

  31. Not a Paul supporter or vote before seeing this video.


    Non-Paul supporters better realize that this can now happen to anyone not favored by the party leadership and establishment.

  32. What it sounds like to me, if this has been going on all over the country is the GOP is attempting to get rid of as many deligates as possible so that there won’t be enough to vote against Romney, or Paul or whoever, probably Romney. So he’s stacking the deck in his favor for all the deligates he already has won’t be voting at the convention against him if all of them are already on his side. When the rest are not even picked, there won’t be any to vote for any one else. So Santorum or Gingrich won’t have enough to decide on either one of them.

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  35. While I support the electoral college, I do not support the fact that the popular vote in Missouri (I have an issue with popular vote for the overall US being used not with a state election) is disregarded with people such as the delegates (who are just as responsible for this embarassment as Dokes) choosing who will select a candidate. While I respect Ron Paul and Rick Santorum and to a lesser extent Mitt Romney, Santorum won the state popular vote by a large margin. No matter what is said, this strongly suggests that the Paul and Romney supporters at the caucus were intending to steal votes away to overrule what the residents of Missouri want as a candidate. Do what is right even if it isn’t what you want.

  36. Don, my brother cool it on the compound sentences. Your over heating my brain.

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