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Missouri moves 2012 presidential primary to March

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 10, 2011 - The Missouri General Assembly has given final approval to a bill that delays the state's 2012 presidential primary until March -- a move aimed at avoiding penalties by both national parties.

Missouri held its 2008 presidential primary in February. But in 2012, both national parties are allowing only Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to hold primaries or caucuses in February. All other states must hold their events in March or later.

Not all legislators are happy about the idea that the state is being forced to change.

As the Missouri House prepared to take its final vote Monday night, state Rep. Chris Kelly called for lawmakers to take a stand against "these two national monsters (who) have taken control of local politics."

Kelly, D-Columbia, complained that the national parties are wielding too much power, controlling money and mandating certain decisions that he said should be left up to local political activists.

"Why don't we stand up to these beasts!" Kelly shouted.

However, other legislators said their failure to change the date of the state's primary was too risky, and could mean that Missouri's presidential delegates might not be seated at the national conventions.

Kelly was outvoted, 107-43. The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who is expected to go along with the primary change.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.