GOP Establishment Shuts Down Missouri Caucus to Avoid Paul Victory

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
03/19/2012
       
GOP Establishment Shuts Down Missouri Caucus to Avoid Paul Victory

Establishment GOP leaders in St. Charles County, Missouri, shut down a caucus and had Ron Paul supporters arrested in order to avoid enthusiastic Ron Paul supporters from taking over the caucus March 17.

Establishment GOP leaders in St. Charles County, Missouri, shut down a caucus and had Ron Paul supporters arrested in order to avoid enthusiastic Ron Paul supporters from taking over the caucus March 17.

"It definitely got wild," Eugene Dokes, the county Republican chairman, told the Associated Press after the aborted caucus, claiming that: "I had to tell a number of people not to approach me, not to come from behind me and not to scream at me. I think there was the possibility of someone trying to inflict personal injury or harm to me." However, there's no evidence Dokes was threatened in the more than dozen videos of the caucus that appeared on YouTube after the caucus.

The posted video recordings were banned at the caucus and provided the nominal reason for one arrest and the loud protests. The videos showed the crowd remaining in their seats and orderly while shouting extremely loudly at perceived rule violations by Dokes through Matt Ehlen, whom Dokes had elected caucus chairman after a controversial vote where Ehlen was the only candidate. Local television stations reported that Paul supporters had become “verbally aggressive,” a characterization imperceptibly different from a crowd enthusiastically supporting their candidates.

GOP officials nominally shut down Missouri's ongoing presidential caucuses in St. Charles County after Ron Paul and Mitt Romney supporters protested enforcement of an outdated caucus rule that bans videotaping of caucus proceedings.

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Photo: Screen-grab from a YouTube video showing Brent Stafford's arrest

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