Sara Walsh, right, counts the votes with Tom Mendenhall, middle, and Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, on Saturday at Family Worship Center in Boone County. Donald Trump received all 20 of Boone County’s delegates. Photo credit: Elena Fu, Missourian

By: Emma Murphy, Quinn Coffman and Camden Doherty, Columbia Missourian
Donald Trump supporters turned out in force Saturday to give the former president a decisive win in Missouri’s first Republican caucus since 2012.

In Boone County, 263 voters arrived to caucus at the Family Worship Center on Bonne Femme Church Road. Of the attendees, 219 caucused for Trump and 37 caucused for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. With Haley receiving only 14% of the vote, Trump received all 20 of Boone County’s delegates, while Haley received none under the Missouri GOP rules. Since Missouri elected Trump as its primary candidate, Haley has yet to secure a primary nomination from any state.

The line to enter the venue trailed out the door, postponing the beginning of the caucus until about 11 a.m. Tony Lupo, chair of the Boone County Republican Central Committee, said the committee underestimated how many caucusgoers would turn out Saturday morning.

“I was expecting about 150 based on past experience, but this far exceeded that, and I’m grateful for that,” Lupo said. Tom Mendenhall, a longtime supporter of Trump, addressed the crowd with conservative talking points and spoke about immigration.

“You know where Donald Trump stands on a lot of these issues,” Mendenhall said, arguing that Haley is more of an unknown. No caucusgoers immediately volunteered to make a speech in favor of Haley, highlighting the caucus’ pro-Trump atmosphere. Eventually, Seth Christensen, an attorney from Columbia, stood up for Haley. His speech made appeals to family values and the need for younger representation in the Republican Party. Christensen attended the caucus with his family, including his three young children.

“The Republican Party is bigger than just one man,” Christensen said onstage. He also expressed frustration that the caucus was not representative of Boone County’s population and instead favored older voters and those without children.

“There’s a whole lot more than 263 Republicans in Boone County, but that’s who got to decide who the nominee is today,” Christensen said. Christensen was heckled during his speech, with one voice from the crowd asking him, “Are you a Republican?”

Full story here.