Kentucky Republicans prepare to hold state's first-ever caucus M - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Republicans prepare to hold state's first-ever caucus March 5

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the first time ever, Kentucky Republicans will decide who they want to represent them in November’s presidential election via caucus and not traditional primary.

“The process will feel rather similar when they go to vote in an election here in Kentucky,” said Executive Director of the Kentucky GOP Mike Biagia. “We set it up to feel similar.”

This comes after GOP leaders in Kentucky voted to hold a caucus instead of a primary. This was seen as a big win for U.S. senator Rand Paul who is running a two-way campaign for both president and senator.

State law prohibits him from appearing on the ballot for two offices at the same time, so holding the early presidential caucus allows supporters to circumvent that issue. Paul is even paying the $250,000 needed for the caucus. 

Biagia says one of the biggest differences is presidential campaigns are allowed to have representatives at the polling location.

“At the caucus locations,” he said. “The biggest difference will be that presidential campaigns are allowed to have a presence there. There won't be speeches made like in other caucuses like Iowa but they are allowed to have a representative giving out literature.”

As those candidates wrap things up in Iowa and focus on New Hampshire, Kentucky is on the horizon which the caucus scheduled for Saturday, March 5.

“Kentucky voters didn't have a real say at a time that the candidates were competing for votes,” Biagia said. “By doing it March 5, we are doing it at a time when candidates will be actively seeking our voters.”

As a result, Kentucky could become an important stop along the campaign trail for presidential candidates.

“I do think we'll have visits and they'll turn their attention to Kentucky and other states around that time,” Biagia said.

Kentucky joins Kansas, Louisiana and Maine as the fourth state holding it’s Republican primary or caucus on March 5. Normally, Kentucky’s primary is in May. Democratic voters will still have their on their candidate on May 17.

For Republican voters, their polling location is likely to change.

“It will probably be a different polling place than what they are typically used to,” Biagia said. “It's usually something that’s centrally located in their community.”

For example, Jefferson county will have nine different caucus locations while smaller counties like Shelby and Bullitt only have one. This is the first ever Republican caucus in Kentucky so many ideas came from other states.

“Where I've gotten the most input from is other caucus states and talking to them about what we want to adopt and what is going to be different,” Biagia said.

You can find the location to your caucus location at the Kentucky Republican party website.

The caucus will be held March 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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