GOP Officials Weave ‘Tangled Web’ Over Caucus

‘Oh!  What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!’ — Sir Walter Scott, 1808

Officials representing the St. Charles County (Mo.) Republican Party Central Committee seem to be offering different versions of the events that took place Saturday during the 2012 presidential caucus meeting (a.k.a., “St. Patrick’s Day Massacre”) at Francis Howell North High School in St. Peters.

When GOP Central Committeeman Jon Bennett spoke with a reporter from a St. Louis radio station about the event, he seemed to confirm that the election of a caucus chairperson without opposition was what set off the fracas. Below is an excerpt from the KMOX-AM report published today:

Bennett said that was done to head off a suspected move by Ron Paul and Mitt Romney supporters to “take over” the caucus, and split the delegates between those two GOP hopefuls.

“Is that fair? And of course their argument is going to be ‘Yeah, that’s the name of the game’,” Bennett said later. “Well, you know, we had to do some things that were also the ‘name of the game’. It’s an ugly process.”

Conversely, according to a statement issued by the central committee and found today on the Missouri Political News Service website, County GOP Central Committee Chair Eugene Dokes’ account of what happened (shown verbatim below) conflicts with Bennett’s account:

“It was not our intention to disenfranchise anyone from exercising their free speech rights,” said Chairman Dokes. I deeply apologize for any confusion during the process. We worked hard to follow Robert’s Rules of Order. We put together house rules, and conducted a voice vote. Adding to the confusion was the fact that many people were handed copies of rules before the caucus that were not approved by the rules committee. Many became aggressive and belligerent when asked to follow house rules. At one point, a woman’s hat was ripped off of her head and thrown on the floor and at least 5 people rushed the podium. We would have continued the meeting after the selection of the chair but the police asked us to shut it down.”

If only Republican leaders had focused on truth and transparency as many of the approximately 2,000 1,000 caucus-goers demanded Saturday, I wouldn’t be writing about differing accounts of what happened in that school gymnasium. Because they didn’t focus on truth and transparency, people like me find themselves feeling as if they are without a political party.


For more coverage of the St. Charles County GOP Caucus, see articles published in The New York Times and Human Events.

For the account of Brent Stafford, one of two men arrested after the event, click here.

For another first-person account of the meeting, click here.

For a non-news media account, the video below offers a flavor of the event.

Be sure to check out my new book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

UPDATE 3/22/12 at 5:46 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 7:30 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.

5 thoughts on “GOP Officials Weave ‘Tangled Web’ Over Caucus

  1. I got the actual count today. I forget the exact number but it was in the 960 range.

  2. All right Bob, you have them moving toward the ropes, again. I love to watch you deliver the ole rhetorical one two.

  3. What set off the fray was not the election of a chairperson….it was a screaming match by two supporter groups, started when the issue of cameras came up. And those people were played when unofficial rules, disguised as official rules, were handed out on purpose in order to create havoc and take over the caucus. This is the second time they have stopped any St. Charles County delegates from going to State. I’m hoping we split into township caucus next time around. It’s the only way to maintain a semblance of order in my opinion, as one who was there.

  4. I disagree with some of what Laurie is saying. The you don’t attempt to arrest people for having a camera and video. This is not communist china is it? It seems their are conflicting stories coming from 2 different people on the same committee. What gives? The crowd did get wild yes. I think the Romney and Paul people could have behaved themselves better too. It was a big batch of trouble any way you want to slice it! I won’t attend another one without a bodyguard!

  5. Eugene Dokes just called into the Jamie Allman show and admitted that the caucus was rigged. This was right before 8am.

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