The Republican Party of Kentucky approved a proposal to change its primary to a caucus on Saturday, paving the way for GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul to run for both President and for re-election in the Senate in 2016.
Paul took to his Facebook page, writing, “I applaud the Republican Party of Kentucky on their decision to hold a caucus in the upcoming Republican presidential cycle.”
“The people of Kentucky deserve a voice as the GOP chooses their next nominee, and holding a caucus will ensure that Kentucky is relevant and participates early in the process,” Paul wrote. “I am also grateful for the Republican Party’s trust in me, allowing me to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate and seek the nomination for the Presidency of the United States!”
While the proposal, which passed 111-36, does not change the law that keeps candidates from appearing on two ballots in one election, it does allow Paul to run for the GOP nomination on March 5, and for re-election of his Senate seat on May 17.
The Associated Press noted that this decision by the Kentucky GOP comes with one condition: that the state party, which currently has “less than $170,000 in cash on hand,” receives $250,000 reserved for caucus expenses in its bank account by Sept. 18, presumably from Paul’s campaign.
House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed the switch from primary to caucus, and he said that he asked Paul to “defray the cost,” and Paul “indicated he’s going to do that.”
While committee member Troy Sheldon said he thought the proposal was “the best thing for voters,” critics such as Kentucky’s chief election official, Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, said that she thinks the use of a caucus will “disenfranchise over 1.2 million Republican voters,” and that “one candidate should not be able to buy an election.”
After the vote on Saturday, Paul told reporters that he thinks Kentucky’s decision is about more than just him. “It really is about trying to grow the party and I’m thoroughly convinced that were I not in this race that this is just good for the Republican party,” he explained.
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