It’s A Caucus! Kentucky GOP's Change Allows Rand Paul To Continue Presidential Run

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 22, 2015 4:24 PM
It’s A Caucus! Kentucky GOP's Change Allows Rand Paul To Continue Presidential Run

The failure of Republicans to recapture Kentucky’s House of Representatives, one of the last bastions of power for Democrats in the South, presented a problem with Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) presidential ambitions. State law prohibits a candidate running for two offices at once. Secretary of State, and former 2014 Senate candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes said that she wouldn’t alter the law.

“The law is clear, Grimes said last December. “You can’t be on the ballot twice for two offices.”

Now, the Kentucky GOP plans to have a caucus, which allows Sen. Paul to continue his run, though committee members said their vote was to make Kentucky more of “a player” in the process, according to the Associated Press:

The Kentucky Republican Party has approved a presidential caucus allowing Rand Paul to run for president and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat at the same time without running afoul of state law.

State law bans candidates from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election. Paul tried without success to convince the state legislature to change the law. But a presidential caucus allows voters to vote for Paul for president on March 5 and then vote for him again for re-election to his Senate seat during the primary election on May 17.

"This is a chance for someone from Kentucky to be on the national stage to influence the debate and really be in the competition for who our next president is," Paul told a handful of supporters outside of the Capital Plaza Hotel before the meeting began.

But most committee members said their vote was motivated not by Paul's candidacy, but by a desire to make Kentucky a player in presidential politics. That's why Republicans crafted the caucus to appeal to as many of the 17 declared Republican candidates as possible. The plan calls for Kentucky's delegates to be split proportionally rather than "winner takes all," and candidates only need to get 5 percent of the vote to qualify for delegates. That's a threshold much lower than other primary states.

Let’s see what happens.