Kentucky Republicans voted Saturday to approve a presidential caucus – a major victory for Sen. Rand Paul that will allow him to continue his quest for the Republican presidential nomination and run for re-election to the Senate next year.
The Kentucky Republican Party Central Committee approved the March 5 caucus by a 111-36 vote, with the caveat that Paul must put up half of the nearly $500,000 he promised to pay for it by Sept. 18.
Had only 14 committee members voted the other way, Paul's presidential campaign may have been in jeopardy. State law prohibits a candidate's name appearing more than once on a ballot.
In a statement from his campaign, Paul praised the committee for its support.
"The people of Kentucky deserve a voice as the GOP chooses their next nominee, and holding a caucus will ensure that Kentucky is relevant and participates early in the process," he said. "I am also grateful for the Republican Party's trust in me, allowing me to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate and seek the nomination for the Presidency of the United States."
The party's move drew immediate ire from Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic secretary of State, who said in a statement: "It is unfortunate that today a few insiders were able to disenfranchise over 1.2 million Republican voters."
"One candidate should not be able to buy an election," added Lundergan Grimes, who ran against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last year.