Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sen. Paul's out, but caucus lives on

Sen. Rand Paul ended his presidential campaign Wednesday after a fifth place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

However, his lasting impact will be felt in Paul's home state with a new brand of selecting a Republican nominee for president.

Kentucky's GOP Party changed its election calendar in 2016 to hold a presidential caucus – rather than a later primary – on March 5. It was predominately so Paul could run for president and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat without violating a state law banning candidates from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election.

Paul even paid for much of the caucus. Although his name will still be on the ballot, he is unable to earn the Party's nomination.

Paul continues to endorse the caucus, something he and other Kentuckians have long sought – giving them relevance in the national presidential nominations.

Kentucky's caucus is different than Iowa's better-known event. The only differences between Kentucky's caucus and the primary is that caucus locations are open for a shorter period of time and most counties only have one caucus location instead of multiple precincts. Registered Republicans can cast ballots at their caucus location between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on caucus day, and they can even cast absentee ballots if they can't make it that Saturday.

"We're trying to make it as much like a primary as possible," Sam Pierce, vice chairman of the Harrison County Republican Party, told the Associated Press.