'Mass Hysteria' Rules Raucous Missouri Caucuses

Two Ron Paul supporters arrested
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2012 7:03 AM CDT
TOWN AND COUNTRY, MO - MARCH 17: A Mitt Romney supporter stands outside a caucus location before Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum was to speak during a campaign stop...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – It's not a party until something gets broken, and it's not a political party until someone gets arrested. This spring's GOP primary battle is now a party, as GOP leaders and enthusiastic supporters squared off in one of Missouri's largest caucuses yesterday, reports ABC News. At least two people were arrested and a police helicopter was called in, after organizers and enthusiastic attendees in St. Charles County fought heatedly over the event's proceedings—in addition to a caucus' usual squabbling over rules and results, Ron Paul supporters apparently insisted on filming the caucus, despite that being against the rules. “It’s like the Hatfields and the McCoys around here,” said one GOP operative.

Caucuses weren't much better in the rest of the state, with organizers using words like "bloodbath" and "mass hysteria" to describe them, reports the LA Times. But at least most of the caucuses were able to function. In Clay County, organizers threatened to remove rowdy Paul supporters, but did not actually do so. “It could have been messier,” said one committee chairman. “We were expecting a large contingent of Ron Paul voters.” Missouri's primary in February was nonbinding, and the caucus process of choosing delegates is relatively complicated and layered.

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