Rand Paul proposal for caucus moves forward

Story highlights

  • Rand Paul wants his hat in ring for both president and Senate
  • Kentucky GOP moves toward creating caucus to allow that scenario
  • Democratic state official criticizes move

(CNN)Rand Paul's goal to run for two offices in 2016 cleared a hurdle Saturday after the Kentucky GOP decided to move forward with a proposal to hold a presidential caucus rather than a primary.

The plan allows the first-term U.S. senator, who's running for re-election and making a likely bid for president, to get around a Kentucky law that prohibits candidates from appearing on the same ballot twice.
    After Paul met with the party's 54-member executive committee in Bowling Green for a two-hour session, the group voted unanimously to appoint a smaller committee that would decide the rules and regulations of how a caucus would be held.
    The final vote would come in August when a larger gathering of the Kentucky GOP is scheduled to meet and hear a more detailed plan from the task force.
    "We thank the members of RPK for their unanimous support and look forward to continuing this process," said Paul's top adviser, Doug Stafford, in a statement.
    Kentucky law allows the state party to determine the details of its presidential preference vote, but not the primary for other elected offices in the state.
    In other words, Paul's name for his Senate re-election bid would still remain on the May 2016 primary ballot, but the presidential vote would likely move up earlier in the year to March.
    The senator appeared at the meeting to address some concerns about a caucus, namely the increased cost, as well as the lower voter turnout typically associated with caucuses.
    He has pledged to raise money through his donor network to help offset the costs, and proponents of the caucus argue that the significant media attention expected and Kentucky's earlier placement in the nominating calendar would spur just as much turnout.
    Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, issued a scathing statement Saturday, saying a Republican caucus next year "could create potential chaos in our electoral process" and promised to "monitor the situation" in the coming months.
    "In the meantime, I call on the Republican Party of Kentucky to provide details on how all their voters would be able to participate and how the party intends to uphold the integrity of the process," she said.