If it doesn’t count, why are they here?

Missouri will have a presidential primary election February 7th. Supposedly it won’t mean anything.

But some people appear to have missed that point. You will recognize most of their names. Here’s the deal:

The Republican National Committee had some kind of a hissy fit about Missouri’s primary date. It demanded the election be moved back to March so it didn’t conflict with all of the other states having their primaries in February. The party threatened to withhold voting privileges from Missouri’s delegates to the Republican National Convention if the Missouri party didn’t acquiesce.

The Republican-controlled legislature made it clear it didn’t much like the national party telling Missouri it had to push its primary back to a date that many lawmakers felt made it irrelevant. By March, enough other states have held primaries blessed by the national party that the nominee is pretty clear.

The state GOP, under the gun from the national folks to make the change, needed legislative action because the date is in state law.. As you recall, the special session considering the bill to move the primary to March was suffering a bad case of the dithers and didn’t get the law changed by the deadline. So the state party decided our Republican convention delegates would be picked and committed through the caucus system, thus rendering the primary valueless for 2012.

A late effort by the legislature to cancel the presidential primary for 2012 failed on a tie vote in the senate.

So we’re having a presidential primary that some legislators pronounced during the special session as worthless because the caucuses will make the decisions.

Filing for candidates in Missouri’s February 7th primary election opened October 25th. It closes next Tuesday.

Eight Republican candidates have filed to be on the ballot for this election of no significance. You have perhaps heard of some of them:

Gary Johnson
Herman Cain
Mitt Romney
Michael J. Meehan
Rick Perry
Keith Drummond
John Huntsman
Michele Bachmann

They sent representatives to file for them. We didn’t actually see Mitt and Rick and Herman or the others walk into the Secretary of State’s elections office and plop down the filing fee.

One name not on the list will disappoint a small but intense band of true believers: Ron Paul. Newt Gingrich isn’t on the list yet either. But they have until next Tuesday to enter the no-contest contest.

If the 2012 primary does not determine Missouri’s candidate at the national convention, why are all of these people putting their names on the ballot? Well, the probably can’t afford not to be on this ballot of dubious value because there IS value to it. The results will give a candidate or some candidates who run well arguing and negotiating points when caucuses start working. If Michael J. Meehan–a Missourian–gets 60% of the votes, it might be a little uncomfortable for caucus attendees to argue that Missouri should support Keith Drummond at the convention.

Worthless election? Maybe not. We’ll pay attention to it and then we’ll see how the caucuses are affected by the results.

Oh…

There is one candidate in the Democrat primary. A guy from Chicago who lives in government-subsidized housing in Washington, D. C., and hopes voters will renew his lease next November.

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