Chaos at the Caucus

17 March 2012, 20:54 CDT

Parliamentary chaos was the order of the day at the Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, MO this morning.

It was fairly quiet, and the courtroom where the meeting was being held looked like it was going to be about 3/4 full until just before the caucus was to begin at 10:00 on a Saturday morning.  It quickly turned into standing room only, which seemed like a good thing.  The assembled were led in a prayer and the pledge of allegiance.  I actually wondered to myself if anyone was offended by the prayer, which mentioned Jesus by name.

The first order of business was to elect the caucus chairman, or chairwoman in this case.  The chairman of the caucus really just runs the meeting.  The party chair of the county Republicans, Kay Hoflander, seemed the obvious choice.  A handful of people in the packed room decided not so fast.  That was when things spun completely out of control.

This particular group happened to mostly be sitting in generally the same area of the room, around the individual they wanted to be the chairman, a guy by the name of Howard Cozart (note among the the favorite websites listed – infowars), who also happens to be the mayor of Lake Layette, MO, population 367.  After the rabble rousers effectively ousted Hoflander, Cozart assumed the position but it was immediately clear that he was woefully unprepared.  Confusion reigned.  Mr. Cozart had neither an agenda nor an understanding of the parliamentary procedures required to conduct the meeting.  After another 10-15 minutes of head scratching, one woman volunteered to act as the parliamentarian to help move the meeting along.

The proceedings finally got to the point of selecting the rules committee, meant to essentially adopt the rules for the rest of the meeting and for how the delegates were to conduct themselves.  Chaos.  Mr. Cozart and his crew had come with their own set of rules, which now had to be merged with the rules developed by the county GOP board.  Behind closed doors, that process took roughly an hour while the rest of the room stood around, some chatting, some consulting with each other.

Once the rules committee returned with their findings, more confusion about delegates bound or unbound.  More questions from people who were understandably wondering what the heck was going on, and some questions, “points of order” from folks who seemed intent on disrupting the proceedings, or at least dragging them out.  By the time it was all over, a least a few of the county committee members had apparently left, ostensibly because they were late for other commitments.

Not one for following the rules apparently, Mrs. Laura Cozart video taped almost the entire proceeding.  She stood up several times to object to various procedures and to suggest certain paths, which seemed pre-planned.  The kicker came at the end when Mrs. Cozart objected to the slate of delegates.  She repeatedly stated that she believed the entire process was conducted in an “unethical” fashion.  I believe she used the word “unethical” 6 or 7 times in about 5 sentences.  Circling back around to cite the disruption she and her band of merry attendees caused at the beginning of the meeting, she made it clear that she wanted the “establishment” delegates thrown out – or at least a re-vote taken – because of the “unethical” way they were selected, and the “unethical” way the meeting had been started.  With several of the county committee folks having already left, had she been able to get a vote, she may have been able to overturn, and stack, the delegate slate.

In the end, I have no idea who won the caucus.  The only indication that anything was accomplished after 3 hours was that we were told the delegates selected were split roughly even between the “establishment” and the disruptors.

Brent Teichman who was at the caucus as a voter had this to say:

It’s annoying to me to hear people talk about wanting to change the path we’re on when this organization walks, phone banks and organizes for Conservatives, and every one of the “take overs” have never been seen before. I like much of their ideas, but I have a fear that if Ron Paul is not the nominee – and mark my words, he won’t be — will they be there helping us? Because I think I know only a handful that will. I consider [some Paul supporters] friends, but saving this Republic requires naysayers to do work, not just pull shenanigans.

Apparently, this type of nonsense was not isolated to Lexington.

@rsmcain: “Missouri Gone Wild: Caucuses Disrupted by Ron Paul supporters“.  I find it extremely interesting, and oddly familiar, that “…the shouting quickly escalated when it came time to appoint a chair of the caucus.”

@chrisloesch: “So evidently the Ron Paul people have shut down the St. Charles, MO Republican caucus with bad behavior. Thanks (ed.) for wasting those delegates!”

I’m sure there will be more on this in the days to come as we start to find out who the Howard and Laura Cozarts of the various caucuses really are.

More reading:

LA Times: ‘Mass hysteria’ in Mo. as Republicans caucus on presidential race

NY Times: Disruption Closes a Missouri Caucus Before Vote

Update:

Laura Cozart has responded in the comments section below.

Update 2:

More from Big Government on the St Charles caucus: Caucuses Gone Wild: Chaos In Missouri

11 Responses to “Chaos at the Caucus”

  1. Ben says:

    While many media outlets have claimed that it was Ron Paul supporters that “sabotaged” the St. Charles caucus, there’s PLENTY of Youtube coverage and eyewitness accounts that clearly prove otherwise. The temporary chairman, Eugene Dokes, completely violated the Rules of Order by banning recording devices, and then proceeded to further violate the Rules by nominating his own officers. A Ron Paul committee member even testifies to certain comments he made before the caucus began; namely, that he would dismantle the caucus if Ron Paul supporters tried to (legally and rightfully) take it over through the Rules.

  2. Tim Morris says:

    It’s too bad this is such a poor misrepresentation of the actual events at the Lafayette County courthouse. The folks in attendance actually had a caucus according to the state GOP rules and reached an outcome in an orderly fashion.

  3. Laura Cozart says:

    Wow! This article is exactly why you can not trust the media. The only way that my husband became the caucus chair was that a majority of the people in the room got a very bad taste in their mouth when the establishment people tried to silence them with ram rod approach they took at the very start of the meeting. We did come with several people, but no where near enough to get the votes. Sorry that the author of this article is offended by the word ethical and after reading his article I clearly understand why. If you are going to try to be a reporter of facts then you should state facts. Howard was was legally voted in by members of the Republican party that wanted to be heard not controlled. I did video tape the meeting because again and again people, like the author of this article, misrepresent the facts or lie about what truly happened and try to get the results thrown out. Were there a few problems in the beginning, yes. Is my husband a Robert’s Rules of order expert… no… does he have an awareness? Yes, and after the initial shock of actually being put in the chair position wore off, he handled himself with honor and with respect to ALL. The rules committee that he appointed was a fair representation of the people in the room, including the three people that the establishment was going to appoint and only two other people. Clearly he could have chosen all of the people but out of his desire to have a fair caucus (as it should be) he didn’t stack the committee and all of us in attendance know that he could have. The Lafayette county caucus was run as it should have been yesterday. By the people’s voice. I was saddened by my parties willingness to silence us and filled with hope when a majority stood up and said “we aren’t taking this anymore”. You can bet after what we saw our own party try to pull yesterday that we are going to be much more involved. It was a definite wake up call. To the author of this article… shame on you… you can fool others to believe the unfair, untrue trash in your article, but in your heart you know the truth. I doubt if you will leave my post on here because you don’t want people to know the truth… you are fitting right into line with all of your peers in the media.

  4. Cliff Cain says:

    I agree with what Laura wrote.

  5. Janelle & Skylar Stark says:

    Thank you for letting my son and I attend this caucus. Our caucus in Jackson County was postponed because it might have disrupted or taken away from the St. Pat’s day celebration. My son was doing research for 3 classes at school.

    I was interested in talking to my parents down by Clinton, Mo. They attended their caucus and said there was no conflict. Their slate of delegates all had to state who they supported at this time. We were forbidden to hear this information at the caucus we attended. My father was selected as a delegate to their district and state. My mother is an alternate.

    I am attending my caucus Saturday the 24th, I hope to be selected as a delegate. Hope to hear from the reporter that attended the Caucus in Lexington.

  6. Bear Looney says:

    I wish to thank the writer of this peace. I am going to print it off and use it to fertilize my garden this year.
    The “establishment” tried to steal the caucus, the rest of the caucus “disrupted” there robbery.
    The worse part is, these “establishment” people are the pillar of the local area, and this is how they acted, and then this “establishment” writer painted us in a bad light.
    This is why we need new leadership from the town levels up!

  7. Bruce Kirk says:

    I was at this Meeting and I assure you I had never met Mr. Cozart before the meeting. The truth you fail to report is Hoflander Obviously came in with a agenda and that agenda was checked by THE PEOPLE Hoflander was out of line with her comments. Yes Mr. Cozart made a few mistakes but they were not worth whining over! I will will tell you this just as I stated in the meeting Elected officials better get it through their thick skulls it is BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE. You may have Roberts rule of order memorized and you may look like a picture perfect politician but if you think we the people need your all knowing guidance and advise you will find out otherwise come election time. I don’t know who you are but it is obvious your truthfulness is weighed , measured and found wanting in light of the truth. I voted for Mr. Cozart after asking him if he was for the people right to decide because it was obvious Mrs. Hoflander thought we were ignorant again obvious by her repeated statements. Laura Cozarts first sentence sums it up exactly and for the record I don’t believe I have ever met her before the meeting also. Why is it so hard to just tell the truth?I tell you this and you can take it to the bank I will represent the will of the people as shown by the primary.

  8. Bruce Kirk says:

    Laura Cozarts entire post is correct. I think a video ought to show up on Face book and you tube.

  9. Sandy Hyatt says:

    I was disappointed to read the article submitted by Mr. Hornsby, who admittedly did not have a clue about how a caucus should run. I know this because he approached me after the caucus and told me so himself. I realize that his spin of the events may have made his article more press worthy, but he would do better to remember that Breitbart, whom he respected, was a stickler about representing truth and the people, not just establishment rhetoric.
    As I told Mr. Hornsby, neither my husband or I knew anyone in the room when we attended the Saturday caucus. Mrs. Cozart states the facts as we experienced them ourselves, and I agree with her assessment. No one objected to her videotaping and no rules were in place to prevent it.

    As far as Ron Paul supporters, we did not even have the opportunity to know for whom our elected delegates stood! We blindly voted on delegates to represent us, and we were told that the state caucus ruled that we could not find out that information, even though the state website information portrayed the caucus as an event where delegates would be chosen by attendees for the next level.

    Ms. Kay Hofflander, to her credit, humbly submitted to the crowd’s wishes to have a new chairman and proceeded to offer helpful advice in moving the caucus along. The real problem lies in the fact that the Republican Party establishment seems to view the actual process of democracy by a less than knowledgeable group of people as a violation of their power, rather than an opportunity for encouraging further involvement and opportunity for community awareness and party growth.

    Mr. Hornsby, you disappoint with your slanted report of the events…

  10. Matthew Cozart says:

    Oh I wish I could have been there! Made this a whole family affair

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