Republican voters gathered Saturday morning to hear about the presidential candidates and cast their votes in the presidential caucus in Butler County.
In all, 30,000 votes were cast in Kansas, with Rick Santorum leading the voting with 15,290 votes (unofficial results). Newt Gingrich received 4,298 votes, Ron Paul 3,767 votes and Mitt Romney 6,250 votes. There were 252 other votes. There are still about 900 provisional votes to be counted.
In Butler County, 593 ballots were cast, with 584 to tally, three of which were invalid. Santorum also led the way with 318 votes, while Paul had 97, Gingrich with 89 and Romney had 74 votes. Rick Perry received two votes. There was one uncommitted vote.
There also was kids’ straw poll held. Santorum received 21 votes, Paul seven, Gingrich two and Romney one.
With the statewide results, Santorum will receive a total estimated 33 of the state’s 40 delegates. Romney will receive seven.
Prior to the vote, comments were made by several elected officials, then representatives of each of the candidates at the Community Building.
Caucus Chair Scott Stoskopf called the caucus to order and County Attorney Darrin Devinney offered the opening prayer.
Sheriff Kelly Herzet led the full room of people in the Pledge of Allegiance, then former sheriff Craig Murphy led the singing of the National Anthem.
Sen. Ty Masterson thanked everyone for attending.
“When this day’s done, whoever our guy is, we’ve got to move forward and stand behind him,” Masterson said.
He went on to talk about a Chinese delegation who he hosted recently and when told about the nationalism ideas from President Obama, they said that was not the way the country should go.
“This country was designed to disperse power,” he said.
Masterson said he had a Democrat ask him why Republicans promote scare tactics because “it’s not that bad.”
He went on to tell the group how Kansas sued the federal government for cross pollution requirements put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency under Obama.
“If there hadn’t been a stay on the mandates for Kansas on Dec. 31 we would be having rolling blackouts right now,” he said.
“Obama has said under his plan energy prices will necessarily skyrocket.”
He encouraged everyone to show up in November to vote.
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“We are headed in the wrong direction,” Masterson concluded. “They are centralizing power and that is heading in the wrong direction.”
Next, Rep. John Grange addressed the group.
“It is a great honor to be here today,” he said, adding that Masterson covered most of the things he was going to say.
“There are 93 places in the state doing this same thing,” he said.
Rep. David Crum also was on hand.
He said he was working hard to represent Butler County and fighting for the values everyone holds dear.
“This presidential election is going to be very important,” he said.
Next, they moved into the speeches by the candidates’ representatives.
Casey Callarman talked on behalf of Newt Gingrich.
“I am not going to talk today about the negative things about the other candidates,” he said, receiving applause from the audience.
He went on to talk about Gingrich’s track record.
He led the Republican Revolution as the speaker of the House, he passed four balanced budgets and during this time unemployment was 4.2 percent.
“He did this working with a Democrat president,” Callarman said.
“Liberals at times compromise values to get things done. Newt hasn’t comprised his values.”
He talked about Gingrich’s 21st Century Contract with America.
“Unlike other candidates he represents a plan that will save $1 trillion in the first year,” he said.
He also has an all-American energy plan and an all-American job plan.
“Newt Gingrich is a tough guy,” he continued. “He’s a man of faith and unlike me, he’s an excellent speaker. Unlike our current president, not only does he speak very well but he performs very well.
“I hope that you will all consider Newt Gingrich and understand that it takes bold leadership. We need someone to stand firm against socialist and radical ideas that threaten our country.”
Next Deborah Myers spoke on behalf of Ron Paul.
“Now is the time for us to restore the country to Biblical principals,” she said.
Page 3 of 5 - She said Paul explicitly states he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior.
He also is 100 percent pro-life and has written bills to repeal Roe v. Wade.
“The right to life is the most important issue of our time,” she continued.
Paul also is a veteran.
“In the military he took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and he took a similar pledge in Congress,” she said. “He never voted for tax increases or to increase the budget.”
He also didn’t vote for any of the bailouts.
Paul also doesn’t participate in the legislature’s pension plan and he never took a taxpayer funded vacation.
“We need Ron Paul for president,” Myers said.
“As president he would lead the fight to secure our border down south instead of the one between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
She said he also supported going after Bin Laden.
“It is time to defend our borders and it is time to defend our country,” she said.
She said to reduce spending he proposes eliminating five unconstitutional departments, but not cutting one penny from Social Security, veterans benefits or national security.
“We must change course and fast,” she said. “Dr. Paul is the only candidate who understands conservative principals.”
Next, Bud Schwindt talked about Rick Santorum.
“November will be the most important election we’ve faced in our lifetime,” he said. “Our freedoms have been assaulted.”
He went on to say for many, the American dream does not exist anymore.
He also said people should not be divided by class warfare.
Santorum has a plan to cut spending and to lower and simplify taxes.
“He will cut spending by $5 trillion over five years,” Schwindt said. “He will repeal Obamacare.”
He also has said he will not pay Congress if they don’t pass a fiscally responsible budget.
Another issue he supports is Medicare reform.
“Poverty in America should never be a permanent condition,” he continued. “American enterprise and business owners, not the federal government, create jobs.
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“The number of people on food stamps has risen dramatically while Obama’s been in office. We must balance the budget.”
He said Santorum will submit a budget that will balance in four years.
He also will simplify the tax code and cut the corporate rate in half.
“Companies have the money to hire but they aren’t hiring because they are afraid of the future with Obamacare,” he said.
“Rick believes America is still the land of the opportunity.”
He also said Santorum would approve the Keystone pipeline and sign an order on day one to allow states to choose where they wanted to drill.
He also opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants because it is unlawful and unfair to legal immigrants. He would stop penalizing states trying to enforce the border.
He also believes in the right to bear arms.
“If this country is to survive, we have to be Obama free,” Schwindt said. “He (Santorum) has a passion for preserving our freedom.”
The last to speak was Lynn Smith on behalf of Mitt Romney.
“As a nation we cannot afford another four years of Obama,” he said. “We need a conservative Republican and leader with a record of taking a stand on conservative issues.”
He said Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts is strong.
“He knows how to use a veto pen to cut government spending,” Smith continued.
Romney also will begin efforts to repeal Obamacare on day one.
Smith went on to talk about the endorsements he has received.
He also has created thousands of jobs.
To help the economy, he will have labor laws that create a stable and level playing field.
“We need to stop the EPA from imposing unnecessary restrictions on businesses,” he continued.
He also will reverse the Obama-era defense cuts.
“He is the one person who can defeat Obama,” he said. “Let’s remember why we’re all here - to defeat Obama in November. We need to put forth the very best candidate we can. Romney is the candidate best equipped to win that fight.”
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Following the presentations, each voter was given their secret ballot to cast his or her vote.