Ron Paul political backers feuded with local GOP leaders as police and organizers shut down proceedings at one of Missouri’s largest caucuses.
“It’s like the Hatfields and the McCoys around here,” St. Charles County’s former GOP chairman told ABC News, after police arrived on-scene with a helicopter and removed Paul backers.
In St. Charles, an exurb of St. Louis and one of the state’s largest GOP counties, Paul supporters sought to elect their own chairman and adopt their own rules when proceedings opened — both of which are part of standard caucus rules and procedure. But as they argued with the caucus chair, Paul supporters held video cameras — against caucus rules, according to a GOP official who was there — and things became contentious.
“It turned into a little food fight within the caucus, between the caucus chairman trying to control the caucus and certain elements, I guess with Ron Paul, trying to be heard,” said Tom Kipers, a former chairman of the St. Charles GOP, who attended the caucus at Francis Howell North High School.
An off-duty police officer, hired as security, eventually filed a trespassing complaint against the Paul supporters and notified on-duty police in the area municipality of St. Peters, who, along with police from other jurisdictions, arrested two Paul supporters and ended the caucuses early. A joint-jurisdictional police helicopter arrived on the scene. Kipers said about 10 officers arrived in total.
“Two people were arrested for trespassing after receiving numerous warnings to leave the school property,” the St. Peters police said in a press release. “Both subjects were transported to St. Peters Justice Center where they were booked for Trespassing and released on a summons.”
Paul supporters, meanwhile prevailed in Boone, a mid-sized county that encompasses Columbia and the University of Missouri. The county elected a slate of 48 Paul-supporting delegates and five who back Romney, the local GOP chairman said.
Paul supporters and local officials get along well in Boone, chairman Bruce Cornett said, although one 75-year-old county GOP member referred to them as “loud” and “obnoxious” at Saturday’s event.