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C-T, April 27, 2012

C-T Photo / Drew Van Dyke

CAPTION: Democratic delegates, alternates, and guests gathered together at the Chillicothe Days Inn on Thursday evening to take place in the Missouri Sixth Congressional District Democratic Convention. At the event, three male and three female delegates to the Democratic National Convention were selected. Above, we see Jan Eaglesfield, one of the night's vote-counters, collecting ballots.

The District Six Democratic Presidential Convention was held Thursday night (April 26) beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the conference room of the Chillicothe Days Inn. Delegates and alternates (along with visitors) from 26 counties in upper north-central and north-western Missouri were present, for the purpose of electing male and female delegates (three of each) to the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte, N.C., during the week of Sept. 3, 2012. Livingston County elected three delegates and three alternates to attend the event, during their caucus on March 29, 2012. Delegates selected were Ken Lauhoff, Gordon Smith, and Rosie Smith. Alternates selected were: Wayne Ware, Kelly Christopher, and Sherry Parks. Lauhoff, G. Smith, R. Smith, and Ware were all present on Thursday night.

Registration for the event took place in the lobby area outside of the conference room, beginning at 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the doors to the event were closed. Upon seating, it was determined that all those persons with a red line drawn under their name on their provided name tag were delegates, and should move into the closer of the two seating sections in the hall. Those alternates and visitors were seated in the second tier. Later in the convention, select alternates were moved to the frontal seating area, for voting purposes. "The first item of business is to nominate a chair," said acting convention (and current District Six Democratic) chair Bob Saunders. It was nominated that Saunders remain as chair of the convention. That vote was passed by voice vote, with one vote of opposition.

Nominations were next taken for the three open male delegate positions. All persons wishing to seek a spot as a National Convention delegate were required to fill out an "F-form" prior to the convention date. The nominees are as follows (in order of their nomination): Jeff Wright, Bill Caldwell, Bob Saunders, A.J. Shumate, Seth Jarboe, Donnie Cox, Daniel Smith, Mase Hakes, Josh Reed, and Joshua Fay. Charles Myers, Jorge Rodriguez, and David Cleveland all declined nominations from the crowd. G. Smith motioned that nominations be ceased. Saunders denied the motion, stating that everyone had a right to make a nomination if they so chose. No more nominations were made after that point.

"Under the rules of the F-form, you may have a three minute talk," Saunders told the nominees, addressing their right to speak to the crowd of delegates, asking for their vote. "If you want to have it be one minute, that's fine," Saunders joked. The male nominees presented their justification for National Convention participation. "Now we come to the interesting part of the meeting," Saunders said. The aforementioned selection and counting of delegates and alternates took place. "This is a part of the process that has been," said Saunders, "challenged." "I have a feeling we're going to need every alternate who is here tonight," he added, noting several missing county delegates and alternates.

Once the re-seating process had concluded, voting on male delegates began, via a ballot process. Delegates and those previously selected alternates were asked to write the names of their three choices upon their ballot. It was determined that Jan Eaglesfield, David Christian, and Phil Tate would tally the ballots at a folding table brought to the back of the room. While the counting process was going on, those present conversed, purchased drinks, or took trips to the bathroom. At approximately 9 p.m., a consensus was met. The sixth district's three male delegates were selected to be:

  • Jeff Wright (Clinton County), who comes from the political Wright family of the northwest region. He admitted that the Wrights have run for, but failed to obtain, several government offices in past runoffs. "We just kept thinking we'd get the right Wright," he joked, with the crowd. "I think this would be a great opportunity."
  • Bill Caldwell (Buchanan County), stated that he has worked campaigns "on both the [workers'] union side and the Democratic side." Caldwell has worked in the airline industry since he was 19 and ran for Missouri House of Representatives in 2010. He worked full-time on the Obama campaign for six months in 2008.
  • Bob Saunders (Clay County), an Obama delegate in 2008 and the former mayor of Liberty, Mo., who said: "I grew up in a labor family. My dad taught me what it was to be a yellow dog Democrat."

It was reported that 125 ballots were cast. Six ballots only had one or two names on them leading to a discrepancy in the voting numbers.

Vote totals from said election are as follows:

Wright 70
Caldwell 69
Saunders 85
Shumate 7
Jarboe 26
Cox 29
Smith 26
Hakes 12
Reed 27
Fay 13

Nominations were next taken for the three open female National Convention delegate seats. The nominations are as follows (in order of their nomination): Barb Womack, Rosalyn May Curl, Sharon Aring, Linda Nolan, Pauli Kendrick, Theresa Garza Ruiz, Julie Vaughn, Susan Donnelly, and Lanna Ultican. Marie Gladback declined her nomination from the crowd.

Candidates gave their speeches, followed again by a delegate ballot vote. During this portion of downtime, as the votes were being processed, announcements were made by different persons across the district, mainly for their specific counties. "If you are an alternate here and a delegate here," Saunders told the crowd, "you are one at [the Missouri Democratic State Convention, held at] Lake of the Ozarks." "It's a lot more fun than this," he quipped. The state caucus will take place between the dates of June 8 and 9, at the Lodge of Four Season, at Lake of the Ozarks. "We do not want to lose our [voting] strength at the state convention."

Saunders also announced that those wishing to be an at-large delegate at the state convention must fill out another form by May 12.

A large percentage of persons left after casting their final ballot, which was the last item on the evening's agenda.

The votes for the female delegate seats came back at 10:05 p.m. The district six trio came out to be:

  • Barb Womack (Clay County), a retired flight attendant who spoke in regards to wanting to re-elect the candidate who she believes would uphold Fair Pay Rights, such as the first act of Congress signed by President Barack Obama after his inauguration in early 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
  • Sharon Aring (Platte County), who stated that she was a "hardworking Democrat." "Have been all my life," Aring said. Aring is the President of the Platte County Federated Women's Democratic Club.
  • Theresa Garza Ruiz (Jackson County), who serves on the Jackson County Legislature (first district at-large), and who gave a rousing speech detailing her many accomplishments, including serving in the United States Navy for five years after graduating from high school at Raytown South.

The results of the vote are as follows.

Womack 48
Curl 36
Aring 53
Nolan 27
Kendrick 23
Ruiz 72
Vaughn 41
Donnelly 17
Ultican 11

One hundred and twenty four votes were cast in this cycle. "Somebody left," Saunders said.

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Livingston County Courthouse
700 Webster Street
Chillicothe, MO 64601