St. Charles County Republicans were working to salvage their role in the primary process a day after a frustrating caucus meltdown that many said could have been avoided. St. Charles County was to have been the biggest prize on what was the most important day for Missouri Republicans hoping to help select their party’s nominee for president. Instead, Saturday’s St. Charles County caucus was shut down when tension flared between members of the crowd and the local GOP activists who were running the meeting. The meeting adjourned without awarding delegates — leaving county Republicans with unwelcomed scrutiny, and an uncertain role in the nominating process. Most likely, the caucus will be rescheduled, but when and in what form is unclear. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, because I don’t think this has ever happened before,” said St. Charles County Council member Joe Brazil.
Brazil, like other local Republicans, blamed the organizers for acting hastily in shutting the meeting down. Tense meetings, Brazil said, may be difficult, but they are also not an uncommon occurrence in politics. “What are you — a bunch of idiots?” Brazil said Sunday. “Can’t you conduct an orderly meeting?”
Much of the ire for what transpired Saturday has been directed at Eugene Stokes, who, as chairman of the county’s GOP committee, played a key role in leading the caucus. Stokes said he grew concerned Saturday after supporters of White House hopeful Ron Paul were “beginning to get physical.”
“At one point there was four or five people surrounding me,” Stokes recalled Sunday. “I didn’t think it was safe.” Stokes said, “We were asked by the police to shut it down” although police in St. Peters, where the event was held, issued a statement Saturday saying it was organizers who decided to disband the meeting. Two Ron Paul supporters were arrested for trespassing after they refused, police said, to leave the caucus site, Francis Howell North High.