Romney-Santorum activists snag delegates during GOP caucuses; Paul gets few
St. Louis area supporters of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum united to overmaneuver rival Ron Paul’s activists during Saturday’s Round Two of the Republican caucuses, and to elect presidential delegates largely committed to Romney or Santorum.
The result was that Paul’s supporters — who had controlled some area county and township caucus sites during Round One — appeared to be unable to use much of that clout to elect a bloc of pro-Paul delegates to the GOP presidential convention in Tampa, Fla. next August.
At the two Round Two gatherings held in the St. Louis area Saturday morning, Paul got one of the six delegates at stake. Romney got two and Santorum, three.
The statewide results, including those in the St. Louis, show that Romney was awarded 12 delegates, Santorum received 7, Paul has four and one delegate was bound to Newt Gingrich.
All of the delegates are committed to vote for their designated candidate during the 1st round of balloting in Tampa.
The 24 GOP delegates awarded Saturday will be augmented by 28 other delegates, most of whom will be awarded at the state Republican Party's state convention in June.
The results show how caucus results can be dramatically different from statewide primaries. Santorum overwhelmingly won Missouri's nonbinding primary, held Sept. 7.
At the 2nd Congressional District convention, held Saturday in a gym at Lindbergh High School, the Santorum-Romney alliance produced just enough votes to defeat the pro-Paul bloc’s choice of presidential delegates. The Paul forces had hoped to have an edge because of their large contingent from St. Charles County.
The upshot is that the 2nd District’s winning slate of three presidential delegates and three alternates is committed to Romney or Santorum — with an agreement from the latter to back Romney at the presidential convention, since Santorum has dropped out.
The 2nd District delegates are former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., who has been campaigning with Romney; former state Rep. Allen Icet, R-Chesterfield, and Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly of Ladue. Icet and Schlafly were Santorum backers.
The 2nd District alternates include St. Louis County Republican Party chairman Rich Magee of Glendale, who backs Romney. The other two alternates are split between Santorum and Romney.
The Paul forces did dramatically slow the proceedings at the 1st District convention, held at the Forest Park campus of St. Louis Community College.
Because of disputes between the presidential camps, it took hours for the participants, all elected during Round One, to vote on the procedural rules and to elect a convention chair.
The spats took up so much time that the convention temporarily had to move outside, although eventually campus security officials let convention-goers come back indoors.
The assembly finally narrowly elected Ferguson Mayor James Knowles as the permanent chair, a sign that Romney had enough support to win the day.
The final list of 1st District delegates: state Auditor Tom Schweich, who backs Romney; Anti-abortion activist Connie Eller, who supports Santorum; and Heather Coil, a Paul supporter. The three alternates were also split, one each.
The lengthy 1st District debate included whether to allow the convention participation of Steve Gleason, a Paul backer, because he had stated on his Facebook page that he was a “Libertarian.”
Gleason told delegates that while he had libertarian-leanings, he was still a Republican. “I’m a libertarian in the same way as [former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona], in the same way as Ronald Reagan,” Gleason said.
At the 2nd District gathering, state House Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, chaired the convention. He was among several speakers — including U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood — who exhorted the roughly 400 convention participants to remember that their goal was to prevent the re-election of President Barack Obama, a Democrat.
“America is under incredible attack,” said Akin, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
The crowd cheered when the congressman asserted that the nation under Obama is now experiencing “Stage 3 Socialism.”
Recalling the nation’s earlier battles for independence, Akin concluded, “Now we go to war with the ballot instead of the bullet.”