When Audrain County Clerk Shelley Harvey officially released the Presidential Preference Primary Election ballot for publication in The Vandalia Leader last week, many area voters might have been surprised to see the name of a GOP frontrunner not on the ballot.
Newt Gingrich, who just won the South Carolina Primary two weeks ago by 13-percent over Mitt Romney, is not listed on the GOP’s ballot after intentionally missing the November 22, 2011 filing deadline.
Gingrich’s campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond was quoted in multiple reports in November 2011 saying that the campaign didn’t file because of the “large” $1,000 filing fee. Gingrich himself was quoted in several reports in saying “we have never participated in beauty contests.” He also noted that he never participated in either the Iowa or Florida Straw Polls as well.
Gingrich used such a comparison because the February 7 primary is non-binding for Republicans as delegates to the national convention in Tampa, Fla. will be chosen through a caucus process beginning March 17 and not in next week’s vote. The caucus will be held on a Saturday, which is more than a week after Super Tuesday on March 6, a strange move for a state that doesn’t normally hold caucuses like Iowa and New Hampshire.
The problem with Missouri’s primary came as a result of the Jeffer-son City officials failing to move the February 7 primary to after March 6. GOP bylaws only allow a handful of states to hold primaries before March 6.
State GOP officials thought holding a caucus on March 17 would be the best solution.
Though Missouri’s primary is nonbinding, positive results from candidates Rick Santorum and Ron Paul could give them a boost heading into February 28 primaries in both Arizona and Michigan.
The upcoming schedule for the GOP includes a caucus February 4 in Nevada, a week long caucus February 4-11 in Maine, and a busy February 7 that includes caucuses in both Colorado and Minnesota as well as Missouri’s primary.