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Presidential Candidates Visit Missouri ahead of Primary Day

Gage Skidmore
Cruz during a 2012 campaign visit in Austin, Texas.

Many presidential candidates and their relatives are traveling through Missouri today and tomorrow. Heidi Cruz, the wife of Ted Cruz, was be in Columbia Friday evening, and in Maryland Heights near St. Louis Saturday.

Rene Artman is the Vice Chair of the St. Louis County Republican Central Committee, the organization hosting Heidi Cruz on Saturday. She said the flurry of visits to Missouri has made a positive impact and has been encouraging more people to vote.

“This is the most important election of my life,” Artman said. “We have some new time voters. We’re getting people who haven’t been engaged in politics. This conversation is getting them involved again.”

Ted Cruz will be in Ballwin Saturday morning for a rally.

Paul Logsdon, director of public relations at Evengel University in Springfield, Missouri, said Cruz will be speaking on campus Saturday evening. Logsdon said the university is not sponsoring the speech, and the Cruz campaign approached him to rent out the space.

Friday night, Bernie Sanders' campaign announced that he would also be visiting Springfield Saturday afternoon.

Donald Trump was in St. Louis Friday morning and former Secretary Hillary Clinton will be there on Saturday.

Marvin Overby, a professor of political science specializing in American politics at the University of Missouri, said he expects a modest showing from the candidates considering the timing of Missouri’s primary on Tuesday after recent primaries across the nation.

“There’s been so much interest and effort put into those races in just the past week or two that I suspect that the campaigns are tired and stretched a little thin right now and there are other states with delegates at stake,” Overby said.

Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois are some of the states with primaries at the same time. Missouri’s status as an open primary is an important factor, Overby said.

“So far, this year, that’s seemed to have helped Donald Trump because he’s drawing in people who are not your typical ‘died-in-the-war’ Republicans. It’s also possible, in an open state primary, that you can have other people, from the other party, voting in your primary. It’s been suggested that there are Democrats who are going out and voting for Trump because they think he’s going to be a weaker general election foe come November.”

Overby said delegates are distributed differently depending on the party. If a Republican candidate gets more than 50 percent of the statewide vote, he will get all of the delegates. Otherwise, delegates will be decided at the Congressional district level. Democratic delegates are given to those running depending on the proportion of votes they received.