JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – A deadlock in the state Senate means Missouri will hold a presidential primary in February that probably won’t count. The state Senate deadlocked at 16-16 in a vote on whether to cancel the primary.
The vote was brought about by the Republican Party’s decision to use a caucus process to choose delegates for its next national convention in Tampa.
Two senators were not present for the vote. The attempt to cancel the primary had cleared the House.
Supporters of canceling the primary cited the estimated $8 million price tag it would cost the cash-strapped state. They claimed the Republicans’ switch to a caucus and the expectation that President Barack Obama will cruise to the Democratic nomination meant spending the money on the primary made little sense.
Advocates for the primary said that canceling it would disenfranchise voters. They said caucuses have lower turnouts and require more time, which favors political insiders.
Missouri’s presidential primary came into question because it is scheduled a month earlier than allowed under guidelines set by the national Republican and Democratic parties.
To avoid disrupting the presidential selection schedule and a penalty of losing half its delegates at the national convention, the state’s Republican Party opted to hold county caucuses on March 17. Delegates, who are not required to endorse a presidential candidate, will be selected there to attend congressional district conventions on April 21 and the state convention on June 2.