Republican caucus site at SM East sees huge increase in turnout from 2012; Cruz earns most votes

Signs for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz lined the sidewalk outside the SM East caucus site Saturday.
Signs for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz lined the sidewalk outside the SM East caucus site Saturday.

Northeast Johnson County Republicans turned out in droves for Saturday’s presidential caucus, with turnout more than doubling what the party saw at the SM East site in 2012.

Figures released by the Johnson County Republican Party on Monday show that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz led the voting at the SM East location with 528 votes. Sen. Marco Rubio came in second with 466 votes, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich came in right behind him with 454 votes. Donald Trump, the current frontrunner in the delegate count, came in a distant fourth place among the SM East voters with 243.

Those results deviate slightly from the county-wide tally, which saw Cruz win with 41 percent of the votes, Rubio in second with 23 percent, Trump in third at 20 percent, and Kasich in fourth at 16 percent.

The party says it recorded a total of 1,701 ballots cast at the site, not including provisional and absentee ballots. That’s a huge jump from 2012, when approximately 750 Republicans cast caucus votes at SM East. This year, Johnson County Republicans cast nearly 16,000 ballots on caucus day, up from 7,200 in 2012.

The line to get into the caucus room at SM East started backing up shortly after doors opened around 9:30 a.m., and kept getting longer as the morning wore on. By 11 a.m., it stretched from the entrance at the school’s south ramp past the main office, up the circle drive by the auxiliary gym and into the parking lot:

SMELongLIne-Here

While the SM East site saw fewer votes than the Democrats northeast Johnson County location at the Roeland Park Community Center, the Republicans also had caucus sites nearby at SM West and SM South. Many people in the line at SM East commented that they believed the heavy turnout for the caucus bode well for whatever candidate emerged with the Republican nomination in November.

A steady flow of voters passed through SM East on Saturday.
A steady flow of voters passed through SM East on Saturday.