Police and organizers shut down proceedings at one of Missouri's largest caucuses today, as Ron Paul supporters feuded with local GOP leaders.
"It's like the Hatfields and the McCoys around here," St. Charles County's former GOP chairman told ABC News, after police arrived on-scene with a helicopter and removed Paul backers.
Video h/t: TheGatewayPundit
In St. Charles, an exurb of St. Louis and one of the state's largest GOP counties, Paul supporters sought to elect their own chairman and adopt their own rules when proceedings opened - both of which are part of standard caucus rules and procedure. But as they argued with the caucus chair, Paul supporters held video cameras - against caucus rules, according to a GOP official who was there - and things became contentious.
"It turned into a little food fight within the caucus, between the caucus chairman trying to control the caucus and certain elements, I guess with Ron Paul, trying to be heard," said Tom Kipers, a former chairman of the St. Charles GOP, who attended the caucus at Francis Howell North High School.
An off-duty police officer, hired as security, eventually fielded a trespassing complaint against the Paul supporters and notified on-duty police in the area municipality of St. Peters, who, along with police from other jurisdictions, arrested two Paul supporters and ended the caucuses early. A joint-jurisdictional police helicopter arrived on the scene. Kipers said about 10 officers arrived in total.
"Two people were arrested for trespassing after receiving numerous warnings to leave the school property," the St. Peters police said in a press release. "Both subjects were transported to St. Peters Justice Center where they were booked for Trespassing and released on a summons."
Kansas City Star:
Organizers shut down one of the largest GOP caucuses, in St. Charles County, because of bitter disputes between supporters of Rep. Ron Paul and attendees supporting other presidential hopefuls. Confusion and contention also marred several other crowded Republican gatherings, the Associated Press reported.
In Clay County, arguments between Paul supporters and others became so intense the caucus chairman threatened to have voters removed by force.
Backers of the Texas congressman said they were upset their views weren’t being heard. “We’re just a little frustrated because caucuses are supposed to be run by a very strict set of rules,” said Paul supporter John Findlay, who lost his bid to become caucus chairman. “We raised a number of points of order, points of information, points of parliamentary inquiry, many of which have been ignored.”
But county caucus chairman Ben Wierzbicki said all caucus-goers had been treated fairly.
“Certain people have made it very difficult on most of the people who are involved in this caucus,” he said. “It might be a little crazy, but that’s part of it.”
After a three-hour-plus session, Clay Co. caucus-goers eventually elected delegate slates from both the 5th and 6th congressional districts whose members were officially uncommitted to any specific presidential candidate. Attendees also firmly rejected an effort to more closely align the party platform with Paul’s views.
ST. PETERS, Mo. – Voters here in St. Charles County did not get a say on Saturday in who will be the next Republican presidential nominee after a disorderly caucus on Saturday caused organizers to adjourn before delegates were selected.
The unrest began as the caucus at Francis Howell North High School was called to order more than a hour late, then delayed again when a member of the crowd refused to put away a video camera, as required by the rules outlined by the local Republican Party.
“People attended the meeting with an agenda,” said Eugene Dokes, chairman of the St. Charles County Republican Central Committee. “When that happens, it’s really hard to accept the authority of the room.”
Members of crowd began shouting, “We make the rules!” among other chants as organizers tried to regain control, which they did briefly. But the shouting quickly escalated when it came time to appoint a chair of the caucus.