Missouri is paying the price for having a presidential primary and a caucus in 2012. The General Assembly refused to move the date of the presidential preference primary from early February. The Huffington Post reports the Missouri GOP settled on March 17 for a date to hold a caucus to choose presidential candidates. The moves came as the Republican National Committee demanded Missouri move its presidential primary to later in the year.
One major candidate didn't even bother to file his candidacy in Missouri. Newt Gingrich said he will intentionally skip the Missouri primary and didn't file necessary paperwork to get on the ballot.
Politico reports the Franklin County clerk's office forwarded an advance copy of the Missouri primary ballot set for Feb. 7. There are 10 names, including Gary Johnson, Michael J. Meehan, Keith Drummond and Herman Cain, who has since dropped out of the race. All of the other major candidates are listed, save one.
Gingrich's name is nowhere to be found. There is no space for a write-in candidate, but voters can mark "uncommitted" in the final circle.
The missing front-runner likened Missouri's primary season as a "beauty contest" that is meaningless. Because of the conflict with the caucus in March, the choices for voters in Missouri in early February mean nothing. The tricky dance between the national party and Missouri's lawmakers turned out to make Missouri seem like it is a less-than-desirable state for candidates.
Other candidates have stated his lack of national organization was the reason why he didn't file papers in Missouri. The Washington Post reports Gingrich skipped Missouri because of the high filing fee. Even members of his own party have stated Gingrich's actions are a sign of disrespect.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted former Sen. Jim Talent and current Auditor Tom Schweich released a joint statement. In it, both men said Gingrich's omission was "disrespectful." Talent is a part of Mitt Romney's economic policy team.
Even though Gingrich vowed to campaign in every state, he is going to focus on the general election when it comes to nationwide campaigning. The primary election seems to be of a lesser concern since his name isn't even on the ballot in February. Should he win, Gingrich will need a nationwide effort to sign up to be a candidate in November.
In terms of Missouri's standing in presidential elections, the Columbia Missourian reports the state's winner in the general election has only lost the national race twice. Once was in 1956 and the other in 2008. The only Democrat to lose Missouri and win the president has been then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. The New York Times reports Sen. John McCain defeated Obama in Missouri by less than 4,000 votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.
- Newt Gingrich