Saturday’s Jackson County Republican Caucus was an interesting and at times frustrating experience. It brought back memories of a special unit in a math classes in college about voter coalitions and how majorities can be created by minorities when voting.
This was the first time since 1996 that Missouri Republicans have used a caucus system to nominate delegates to the Republican National Convention. In attendance were supporters for the four presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Individually, none of the groups had enough support for a majority, but by negotiation and mutual agreement they successfully influenced the results of the caucus.
In the end, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul proportionately split the delegates for the 5th and 6th congressional districts. Santorum, who had previously won the Missouri Republican primary, and Gingrich, who was not on the February primary ballot, came away from the caucus with no delegates.
As in any election or caucus, those who show up to vote control the outcome for the rest of us. In this case, Jackson County was represented by just 1,012 registered voters who took the time to participate in the selection of delegates to the state and congressional district Republican conventions. One of the challenges inherent in a caucus system is the timing of the caucus itself. Unlike typical elections, where you can manage your voting time or even vote absentee, a caucus requires you to be present at a specific date and time, and it might last for many hours.
Many people feel that their vote has no meaning, and the larger the scale of the election, the more prevalent this feeling becomes. We all have heard stories of elections too close to call, where the choice between candidates has come down to a handful of votes.
As an elected official, having won and lost on election night, I would tell you every vote counts, even when it isn’t the deciding vote. It matters to the candidates, and it matters to their supporters and campaign volunteers. Win or lose, your vote is important, because ultimately decisions are made by those who show up. I urge you to participate in choosing your elected leaders and to seek out the candidate who best represents your beliefs and your values.
Next Tuesday, April 3, is our municipal election day. I hope to see you at the polls.
Help a good cause
At 2 p.m. Sunday at Side Pockets in Blue Springs, the Blue Springs Shrine Club will host a charity Texas hold ’em tournament and bake sale. A $20 donation is all that is required to participate in the tournament. There will be training for new players, so bring your family and come join us for a fun time.