This Saturday, Republicans voted again in Missouri’s caucus. The Republicans already had a primary there on February 7 and Santorum won every county across the state. Most Caucuses feature two events. A Presidential preference vote where people select the candidate of their choice, and a second vote in which each voters select one of their neighbors to represent them at the County level. The first vote is the vote which everyone talks about on TV, but it is the second vote that actually counts. Everything boils down to delegates. The networks guess the delegate counts will be similar to the Presidential preference vote, but that is unclear. It depends on whose supporters actually stay to the end of the meeting for that final vote, and it depends on how the county convention goes one or two months later.
Missouri is unique in that the Presidential preference vote did not occur yesterday on caucus night but occurred rather last month. Romney belittled Santorum’s victory at that time saying that no delegates were at stake, but the contest yesterday was impossible for the major networks to clearly report on, so they basically ignored it.
Missouri allows each county to set its own rules. The resulting confusion led to turmoil at several sites. In St. Charles County, the caucus was cancelled and a Ron Paul supporter was arrested amid disputes over the rules. See video above.
The moral is that estimating delegate counts is premature before the dust settles and the county and district conventions play out.
Today, Romney scored an impressive victory in Puerto Rico hitting the 50% threshold necessary to lock up all 20 delegates for himself. (Puerto Rico and some states have a rule whereby you win all of the delegates if you get a majority of the votes. If no one gets a majority of the vote, then the delegates are divided proportionately among those who get at least 15%. Thus it is a big deal if you hit 50%.)
Santorum had announced that he favored statehood for Puerto Rico only if it made English its sole official language. However, 95% of Puerto-Ricans speak Spanish at home, so this was not a popular stand for Rick Santorum to take. See our Q&A for more information on the voting in the various US Territories.
A debate was originally scheduled for tomorrow evening. However, Romney withdrew and the debate was cancelled. No more debates are currently on the primary calendar.
Oddsmakers at inTrade give Romney a 92% chance of winning this Tuesday in the Illinois primary. This would probably be his first victory in the continental United States since Super Tuesday.
The Romney campaign had been challenging Santorum signature petitions in several Illinois counties. BuzzFeed reported that the Romney campaign dropped these challenges. It was not immediately clear why they called off their lawyers, but now Politico reports that Santorum had countered that Romney’s signature petitions were all notarized in Boston while Illinois law requires that they be notarized in Illinois. Continuing the legal battles may have invalidated Romney’s candidacy throughout Illinois, so the two campaigns called a legal truce.
Then this Saturday is the Louisiana primary. InTrade gives Santorum a 79% chances of winning there.
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Rick Perry: Blue.
No votes: Black.
Yet to vote: Grey.