COLUMBIA — The parking lot of Rock Bridge High School was full to capacity on Thursday night as 143 residents turned out to elect delegates to the district nominating convention.
The local Democratic party held the caucus to elect 16 delegates with 16 alternates for Hillary Clinton and 15 delegates with 15 alternates for Barack Obama. The Clinton caucus elected eight men and eight women, while the Obama caucus elected eight men and seven women. The number of delegates was based on the way voters in the Ninth Congressional District cast their ballots.
Hillary Clinton Delegates: (16) Betty Wilson Phyllis Fugit Diane Booth Denise Gilmore Mary Ratliff Nancy Wilson Jessica Witte Nancy Flournoy Daren Hellwege Olin Fugit Ken Jacob Daniel Jacob Clyde Wilson Mark Piskulic Lonnie Ratliff Shay Prince Barack Obama Delegates: (15) Melisabeth Wright Patricia Doss Jordan Stein Zakiyyah Armer-Shabazz Katie Hamlett Robine LaBrunerie Peg Miller David Cochrane Rick Puig Nate Kennedy Eduardo Crespi Wylie Miller Mark Buhrmester Ted Farnen Glenn Rehn
The caucus began by having those present split into two groups: the 54 Clinton supporters on one side of the room and the 88 Obama supporters on the other. Both groups began by taking nominations for, and then electing, a chair for the caucus.
Chris Kelly, former Boone County associate circuit judge, was elected the Clinton chair. Sean Spence, a candidate for House of Representatives 25th District race, was elected the Obama chair. The two men presided over the following delegate elections.
The Clinton caucus began their elections by taking nominations for delegates, who then gave speeches explaining why they should be elected. Many speeches praised Clinton and noted the importance of the coming election.
“I really think it is important to elect a woman to be president, especially this woman,” Clinton delegate Ken Jacob said in his nominating speech.
The nominees also spoke about the importance of supporting the party in all levels of government.
“We need to get all our democrats elected, from the courthouse to the White House,” Clinton delegate Phyllis Fugit said.
At one point during the Obama nominees’ speeches, the Clinton caucus members broke out in a chant of being ready on “day one.” In the back-and-forth banter, Spence returned that the Obama side simply had more supporters.
Among the speeches made by the Obama nominees, there was a spirit of hope.
Zakiyyah Armer-Shabazz, who won her nomination for delegate, felt disappointed by the last presidential election but was ready to get back into the political process for Obama.
“I kind of lost hope and was discouraged, but I’ve been pulled by an irresistible draw,” Armer-Shabazz said.
Other nominees talked about their motivation to support Obama.
“I am a member of the Hillary demographic who voted for Obama,” nominee Linda Vogt said. “He has a spirit that’s inspiring.
Some community members came to the meeting just to observe the process.
“I’ve never been to a caucus,” Casey Forbis, 26, said. “I am looking forward to seeing it.”
The caucus also elected alternates, who will replace the delegates if they cannot perform their duties.