Tensions Flare at Republican Caucus in Jasper County

Published 03/19 2012 06:33PM

Updated 03/19 2012 09:52PM

CARTHAGE, MO -- Tensions flared at some Republican Caucuses across Missouri over the weekend.

One caucus in St. Charles county even disbanded saturday without voting because of unresolved arguments.

Though Jasper County's caucus didn't get to the extreme level that some counties did, officials say there were some strong emotions between party members.

"People get eye ball to eye ball and sometimes they get passionate," Permanent Republican Caucus Chairman, John Putnam says.

Almost 400 people showed up in Carthage to support one of the four presidential candidates.

The permanent chairman for the caucus, John Putnam, says this is the largest and most passionate caucus he's been a part of since 1984.

"That number reflects a lot of people in the area that think this is the most important election in their lifetime," Putnam says.

Officials say some of the tense moments between party members came over caucus rules.

This is where Jimmy Morris, the rules chairman for Jasper County, came into play.

"I think there was a couple candidates who wanted to propose changes to make them unbound to a particular candidate and to provide equal number of delegates to all four candidates," Jasper County Caucus Rules Chairman, Jimmy Morris says.

This year the method of binding the delegates was used.

"It was the caucus rather than the primary that determined which candidate got Missouri's support," Morris says.

It was former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum who took most of the votes in Jasper County with 194 of the 359.

"We believe in family values and Rick Santorum has been very vocal in that aspect," Morris says. "He also appeals a little more to the blue collar worker and to the average American."

Santorum also won Missouri's non-binding presidential primary in February.

Political members also say Newt Gingrich has had a strong presence in the Republican party across the county, but he was not apart of the Missouri caucus.

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