An attempt to replace Missouri’s presidential primary with statewide caucuses has failed in the State Senate, meaning the February 7th Democratic and Republican primaries will go on as scheduled.
Before the vote, some amendments were offered, including one that would have moved the primary forward to January. None of them passed, but they reflected efforts by several Republicans to preserve the state's primary. State Senator Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) said that caucuses result in fewer people having a say in who they want for president.
“As we sit here or stand here in this cathedral dedicated to democracy, let us not collectively take an enormous pickaxe to the very foundation of our democracy, and let’s let the people decide," Schmitt said from the Senate floor.
State Senator Kevin Engler (R, Farmington) had pushed for scrapping the primary, since the Missouri Republican Party last month decided to use caucuses to choose delegates to next year’s national convention. But the substitute bill failed on a 16-16 tie vote. Engler chastised his colleagues afterward.
“It's with great pride in the ineffectiveness of this body that we’re going to have a February primary that costs $8 million that means absolutely nothing," Engler said. "For those of you that voted against this, and screwed it up in the spring, quite honestly, in addition to screwing it up now, don’t ever tell the public that we do good work over here, because this is bizarre.”
Engler also chose not to bring up the original version of the bill, effectively killing it.
The Missouri Democratic Party, meanwhile, has not yet announced whether it will stick with the primary or switch to caucuses as the state GOP has done.