Missouri Republicans in most counties will hold a presidential caucus at 10 a.m. March 17. However, Republicans in Jackson County and St. Louis City plan to meet a week later on March 24. Republicans in Phelps County, which is home to Rolla, still plan to caucus on St. Patrick's Day but will start at 2 p.m. The later presidential caucuses should avoid conflicts with St. Patrick's Day festivities.
In addition, Wayne County in southeastern Missouri is scheduled to caucus March 16 and rural Chariton County in central Missouri is scheduled to meet March 15. Andrea Rice, the chairwoman for the GOP committee in Chariton County, said Monday the caucus date was changed to coincide with a Republican dinner.The staggered start times for caucuses across the Show Me state will more greatly resemble the month-long window for caucuses in Maine -- though not nearly to the same extent -- than the single uniform caucus date in the caucus states to have held votes thus far. The March 15 caucuses will occur just two days after the votes in Alabama and Mississippi and the final series of votes on March 24 will fall just days after the vote in neighboring Illinois. [see the 2012 presidential primary calendar here]
The differing caucus times -- and this is something discussed very little around the Maine situation -- begs the question that voters at different times may be [not] activated/motivated by different stimuli. In other words, events of the race may pull more voters in to later caucuses or push them away, giving greater/lesser weight to the earlier contests. There are a couple of addendums to note. First, in both Missouri's and Maine's cases the impact may be muted by the fact that most caucuses took place on a given couple of days. There are, then, only a few outliers. Secondly, this is no different than those who cast early votes in primary states. From the voter's perspective, something may have occurred [campaign effects] post-vote that would have shifted that person's vote in a different direction (rather than keeping them away as was mentioned above).
Regardless, Missouri Republicans -- fresh off their beauty contest primary -- will be caucusing across a week and a half long period in mid- to late March instead of just March 17.
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