Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has a backup plan in the works in case his bid for the Republican presidential nomination falls flat: Kentucky Republican Party leaders agreed Saturday to allow Paul to run for the presidency and the Senate at the same time.
Under existing state law, candidates may not have their names on the ballot twice in one election. But Kentucky’s GOP leaders agreed to hold a presidential caucus separately from primary elections next year, stipulating that Paul must pay $250,000 to the state party to make up for logistical costs. Paul has until Sept. 18 to transfer the money or risk cancellation of the caucus.
The party will hold the special caucus March 5 and the primary elections for other positions, including Paul’s seat in the Senate, May 17.
Members of the Kentucky Republican party executive committee said the move was not specifically for Paul’s benefit. “This is about making Kentucky relevant,” said committee member Troy Sheldon, the Associated Press reported. “I think it’s the best thing for voters.” The March 5 caucus takes place early in the presidential nominating process, thereby potentially making Kentucky more attractive to presidential hopefuls vying to get traction. Kentucky’s caucus will award delegates to candidates based on the proportion of votes, rather than a “winner-take-all” system, heightening the incentive for more Republican candidates to appeal to Kentucky voters.
Paul is currently polling eighth among a plethora of other Republican presidential candidates, according to RealClearPolitics’ average of major national polls. That gives Paul an estimated 4.3 percent of GOP voters’ support. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has surged to the forefront of national surveys with 22 percent support, according to the same data.