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Mo. Republicans sets March presidential caucuses
Mo. GOP sets March caucuses instead of presidential primary to avoid penalties for early vote
By The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) ' Missouri Republicans are bailing out of a February presidential primary that had threatened to throw confusion into the 2012 election calendar.

The Missouri Republican State Committee decided Thursday to use a caucus system to award delegates to presidential candidates, instead of relying on a primary election. The Missouri caucuses take place on March 17.

State law set Missouri's primary on Feb. 7. But National Republican Party rules require Missouri to wait until at least March to hold its presidential contest, or risk losing half its delegates.

After the caucuses, the Missouri GOP will hold congressional district conventions on April 21 and have a state convention on June 2. The final slate of delegates who go to the national convention will be selected on those dates.

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