Three weeks until our Primary

Three weeks from yesterday Missourians will flock — or at least wander — to the polling places to vote in Missouri’s Presidential Preference Primary, an event declared worthless by the state Republican committee, a position confirmed by Newt Gingrich who dismissed it as a beauty contest and didn’t even file as a candidate.

Ten candidates did file, though.  If you don’t like any of the big names, you might want to choose from former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, or Oakville, Mo., realtor Michael J. Meehan, or Houston, Texas businessman Keith Drummond.

At least they’re still in the race.  The big names who did file are:

  • Herman Cain
  • Mitt Romney
  • Rick Perry
  • Jon Huntsman
  • Michele Bachman
  • Rick Santorum
  • Ron Paul

Three of those people have “suspended” their campaigns, a phrase that is less a commitment to just going away than saying, “I quit.” Herman Cain, Michele Bachman, and Jon Huntsman have “suspended.”  So for all intents and purposes the field is down to four major candidates three weeks away from the election.  South Carolina’s primary is expected to narrow the field even more.

The national GOP wanted Missouri to move its primary back to March and the legislature wasn’t able to agree to do that. Some lawmakers who were pretty upset with the craziness then underway about who would be the first in the country to have a primary,  complained that delaying our primary until March would make it too late to have any impact or to draw any candidates and their tourism dollars to Missouri.

By February 7 the issue might be pretty close to what we call a “moo point,” meaning that not even the cows care, as the winnowing continues in South Carolina and then on the 31st in Florida.  Nevada has caucuses on February 4 and Maine has a week of caucuses from Feb. 4-11.

We’ll be watching to see if the primary numbers have any impact on the caucuses.  Jonathon Prouty, the PR guy for the party, says the actual delegate selection process begins March 17 with county caucuses that pick people to be delegates at the eight Congressional District Conventions that will be held April 21.  Each of the congressional conventions will select three national delegates.  The state convention, June 1-2 in Springfield, will pick 25 at-large national convention delegates.  Guaranteed convention slots will go to the state party chairman, and the national committee man and woman.   Those 52 people will represent Missouri at the national convention in Tampa Bay, Florida the week of August 27.

Missourinet House Correspondent Mike Lear will be our GOP bird dog through the campaign year.  Managing Editor Jessica Machetta, who spent several years reporting news in Florida, had  first choice of national convention she wanted to cover and not knowing where the conventions would be held, chose the Democratic convention.  She gets to go to Charlotte, North Carolina.

P. S.  We, like many people, have wondered what “Mitt” stands for.   Some research shows that Mitt Romney’s first name is really Willard.   He was named Willard in honor of his father’s best friend, J. Willard Marriott of hotel fame.  His middle name is from his father’s cousin, Milton “Mitt” Romney.

And here you probably thought Mitt was short for “Mittens.”   Sorry.  No.  He was not named for the family cat.

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