Candidate filing began this week for the state’s presidential primary amid questions about whether the contest will have any bearing on choosing presidential delegates.
As of press time, four Republican presidential aspirants have signed up for next February’s contest. That list includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Georgia businessman Herman Cain, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and St. Louis resident Michael Meheen.
Republicans opted to select their delegates through a caucus process after the legislature failed to pass legislation moving the primary from February to March. Such a move was necessary to avoid running afoul of party rules.
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has been a strong supporter of keeping the primary going, adding that she would prefer the delegates be allocated based on the results of the primary. She said as much in a statement announcing candidate filing last week.
“Just as ordinary Missourians have the chance to vote for party nominees for senator, governor and all their state and county elected officials, the Presidential Preference Primary on February 7, 2012 gives them a vote in nominating the next president,” Carnahan said in a statement. “Electing the President of the United States is serious business. Every Missourian should have the right to participate in that process.”
Some notable adherents of Romney’s campaign showed up in Jefferson City this week to file his name in the primary. The delegation included Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles), state Auditor Tom Schweich and state Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City).
“America needs an economic turnaround, and Mitt's the guy for the job,” Barnes said on his Facebook page.