Louisville, Ky. (CBS DC) — Kentucky Republicans are pushing to turn the state’s presidential primary into a caucus as part of a move that would allow Sen. Rand Paul to run for both his current Senate seat and president in 2016.
Paul discussed the matter for a half-hour with the chairman of Kentucky’s Republican Party, Steve Robertson, at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s victory party Tuesday night, Politico reports. Paul and other GOP leaders are pushing to replace the state’s primary with a caucus to allow him to hedge his bets on a presidential run – a move that Kentucky Democrats have vowed to block, forcing Paul to abandon his Senate seat should he choose a 2016 presidential campaign.
Currently Kentucky law states that “no candidate’s name shall appear on any voting machine or absentee ballot more than once,” with an exception for certain special election scenarios.
One proposal for Paul to get around the restriction is to change the state’s May primary into a caucus system. Because the caucus do not use a paper ballot vote Paul could circumvent the restriction.
“He’s got as many questions about it as I do,” Robertson told Politico. “He’s just curious how it would work.”
A switch to a caucus system requires the approval of the state’s governing body of GOP officials, who would have to agree on the costs and procedures for holding statewide caucuses by October 2015. Robertson said he believes local GOP officials “would be very open to having a discussion and debate” on the matter, with the cost of such a switch being a large factor.
Paul spokesman Dan Bayens responded to the potential move, saying he is “100 percent committed to running for reelection” to his senate seat. Bayens added that Paul’s decision whether to run for president would be announced in the spring.