McCreary County Republicans will choose their candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election a little differently this year.
Instead of casting their vote during the Primary Election on May 17, Republicans will gather on Saturday, March 5 to take part in the first Kentucky Republican Caucus.
The Caucus will take place at McCreary County Middle School on March 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Instead of the traditional voting practice most citizens are used to, on Caucus day all Republicans are invited to visit the caucus location where they will be able to learn more about the 11 candidates appearing on the ballot. Some representatives from the candidates’ campaigns may also be present.
From there voters will be given a ballot and will choose their candidate in a secret vote.
The 11 candidates who have paid the $15,000 filing fee for the Kentucky Republican Caucus are: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump.
At the end of the voting each candidate who receives at least five percent of the total vote will be given a pro rata portion of the state’s delegate votes for the Kentucky Republican Party in the Republican National Convention later this fall.
Kentucky Republicans will have 46 delegates out of 2,472 in the Convention, the 19th highest total. California, with 172 delegates has the most, while Territories Guam, American Samoa, Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands will each have nine.
The apportion of delegates is mainly determined by the number of Senate and House seats from each state, but bonuses are awarded for electing Republican candidates in recent elections. Kentucky normally only has 41 delegates, but will receive 15 bonus for electing Governor Matt Bevin, Senator Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell as well as controlling the Kentucky Senate.
The Caucus is organized and run by the Kentucky Republican Party, and will have no affiliation with County Clerk Eric Haynes’ Office.
The Caucus was initiated last year by Kentucky Republicans to allow Senator Rand Paul to run for President, while still being able to run for re-election for his United States Senate seat.
A Kentucky law prohibits candidates from appearing on a ballot for two different seats in the same election.
State Republican leaders also claim the Caucus will put Kentucky in a more prominent role in national politics by moving up the date of the vote.
Absentee voting is currently underway for those who cannot be present on Caucus day to cast their votes.
Those wishing to receive an absentee ballot may request one by contacting the state or local Republican party. An absentee ballot application form is available for download on the party’s website at http://rpk.org/caucus/.
The last day to request a absentee ballot is February 19, with March 4 the last day a completed ballot will be accepted.
Due to the caucus Kentucky Republicans will not vote for a Presidential Candidate in the 2016 Primary Election on May 17, but will still be able to vote for other races, such as state Senator and State Representative.
Republican Ken Upchurch is the lone filer to date for the 52nd District in the House of Representatives.
For the U.S. Representative Seat Harold “Hal” Rogers has filed for re-election to his 19th term in Washington. Rogers will have competition this spring as John Burk Jr., of Somerset has filed to challenge him for the Republican nomination.
Both parties will be able to vote in the Unites States Senate Race this spring.
Rand Paul has filed for re-election on the Republican ticket, with challenges coming from Stephens Slaughter, of Louisville and James Gould, of Lexington.
Two Democrats have filed for the seat as well: Jeff Kender, of Phelps and Tim Recktenwals, of Louisville.
The deadline for filing to run in the Primary Election will be January 26.