Aug. 22 will be judgment day for Rand Paul. That's the day the Kentucky GOP will decide whether or not to move their presidential nomination from a May primary to a March caucus. Should such a change occur, the Republican senator would be able to run for both his Senate seat and the presidency.
Rand's campaign has lobbied the Kentucky Republican Party to make the switch. Now, his fate is in the hands of 334 committee members.
The Kentucky GOP executive committee unanimously advanced the proposal in March, charging a special committee with developing a plan for how the change would actually be implemented. That work is done, and now the full central committee of 334 members will decide the fate of the primary in less than two weeks.
At issue, however, is the price tag. GOP District Chairman Scott Lasley estimates the earlier date will cost about $500,000. Yet, the Paul campaign has promised the money would come directly out of their wallet:
"We are very confident that the KY GOP, which has already voted on this change in the past, will fully support Sen. Rand Paul," Paul's Kentucky campaign spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper said in an email. "It has been widely reported that Sen. Paul pledged to make sure that the caucus wouldn't cost the state party anything, and he stands by that pledge to fund it."
Other state party members says his campaign had better be good to its word, or he can kiss those presidential aspirations goodbye:
“There should be no direct cost to the party,” said Scott Lasley, a state executive committee member who chaired the party committee that drafted the plan Paul favors. “If the money is not there … then I think all bets are off.”
The party will be seriously considering the senator's presidential chances, no doubt, when making their decision. If recent polls are any indication, however, Rand won't like what they have to say.
Despite his 5 percent polling and struggling fundraising, will the Kentucky GOP bend the rules for Rand?