2016 Elections

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a newly declared Republican presidential candidate, is dodging a central question about abortion: What exceptions, if any, should be made if the procedure were to be banned?

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Paul would not say where, in his view, a pregnant woman's rights begin and those of the fetus end.

"The thing is about abortion — and about a lot of things — is that I think people get tied up in all these details of, sort of, you're this or this or that, or you're hard and fast (on) one thing or the other," Paul said.

In the past, Paul has supported legislation that would ban abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother's life. At other times, he has backed bills seeking a broader abortion ban without those exceptions.

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Paul told the AP that people get too tied up in these details and it's his conviction that "life is special and deserves protection."

Paul entered the GOP race Tuesday and is this week campaigning in the first four states to vote in the nomination contest.

Exceptions in any abortion ban are a politically sensitive topic for Paul and some of his rivals. They want to nudge the party away from a focus on such social issues, but know that winning the nomination requires some backing from religious conservatives who press for strict, if not absolute limits on abortion.

In Iowa, where Paul will campaign Friday, Rev. Terry Amann of Walnut Creek Community Church near Des Moines said he saw no place for equivocation on the issue.

Welcome to the 2016 presidential campaign. Republican Rand Paul officially entered the race Tuesday, and was greeted with a TV ad calling him "wrong and dangerous" on Iran. The money behind the ad is secret.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced his bid for the White House Tuesday on his website. The 52-year-old former ophthalmologist's libertarian roots sets him apart from the expansive field of Republican hopefuls, most notably in foreign policy and issues like defense spending.

His father Ron Paul, also a physician, gained notoriety in the late-1980s as a presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, but there are signs the younger Paul is moving more mainstream Republican.

Sen. Rand Paul is poised to launch a presidential bid in Louisville Tuesday morning.

Political experts say the campaign of Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator  will likely be very different than any other hopeful for the Republican nomination in 2016. The main difference: Paul has set his sights on liberal voters.

For the past several months, Paul has been touring the country holding town hall-style meetings, mostly in inner cities.

The Kentucky Republican Party appears ready to change the way it nominates presidential candidates—something that would help Senator Rand Paul run for the White House and Senate in 2016.

The executive committee of the state party gave preliminary approval Saturday to Paul’s request to hold a presidential caucus next year, instead of a primary election.

A formal decision on the move will come in August.

State law prohibits a candidate from appearing for more than one office on the same ballot.

By going to a caucus system, Kentucky Republicans are making it possible for Paul to seek Senate re-election and the presidency at the same time.

A county GOP leader told WKU Public Radio that executive committee members were told not to speak to reporters about the decision.

But he confirmed the vote to move to a caucus next year was unanimous.

WKU PBS

U.S. Senator Rand Paul will be in Bowling Green this weekend, asking fellow Republicans to change the way they nominate presidential candidates.

The Republican Party of Kentucky’s executive committee is meeting Saturday afternoon in Warren County, and Paul is hoping they will endorse his plan to replace the state’s presidential primary with a caucus.

In a primary, the winner is determined by counting ballots. A caucus counts the number of supporters who appear at meetings across the state on a specified day.

Paul wants the state GOP to move to a caucus so that he could run for both President and another U.S. Senate term at the same time. Current Kentucky law prohibits a candidate from appearing on the same ballot for multiple offices.

The Associated Press reports Paul believes a caucus would also offer military personnel greater opportunities to participate.

Kentucky is home to two military bases and absentee voters have posed problems for other caucuses around the country. A spokesman for Paul noted a caucus gives organizers more options to accommodate military voters.

Office of Ky Governor

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says the national Democratic Party is paying the price for not putting enough resources into winning Congressional and state legislative races.

Beshear made the comments over the weekend during the release of draft recommendations made by a task force charged with helping the party prepare for the 2016 election cycle.

Beshear is one of the 11 members of the task force, and says the Democratic National Committee needs to implement a “National Narrative Project” that will gather input from party leaders and members to create a “strong values-based national narrative that will engage, inspire, and motivate voters to identify with and support Democrats.”

Beshear also called upon the party to rebuild “its bench” by recruiting stronger candidates for state legislative seats over the next three election cycles, something he said would help Democrats influence the redrawing of Congressional districts after the next Census is completed.

A published report says Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is eyeing April 7 as the date he will announce whether or not he’s running for president.

The story in The New York Times quoted anonymous sources close to the Bowling Green Republican as saying only family doubts regarding a run could keep Paul from entering the race.  If Paul officially enters the GOP primary field at such an early date, it would give him 10 months to raise money and hire staff ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

The report says Paul would most likely declare his White House bid in Kentucky, followed by a tour of states with early nominating contests, such as Iowa, New Hampsire, and South Carolina.

Paul has already announced plans to run for re-election to the Senate in 2016. Kentucky law prohibits a candidate from appearing on the same ballot for two different offices. Paul is actively lobbying the state Republican Party to hold a presidential caucus in 2016 instead of the usual primary vote, which would allow him to simultaneously run for his Senate seat and president.

There may not be any officially declared candidates for president yet, but prominent Republicans from Jeb Bush to Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are making big speeches and jostling for consultants and donors. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton may not formally announce whether she is running for months. But any number of polls would indicate, without even declaring, she has a lock on the Democratic nomination.

Which got me thinking — who are the other potential Democratic candidates?

As the measles outbreak continues to spread, political leaders with an eye on the White House in 2016 spent much of the week jumping into, and then trying to bail themselves out of, the vaccine debate.

Some brushed the issue off as an unnecessary media circus, but it's worth taking a look at its deeper political meaning. Here are five things the vaccine politics kerfuffle of 2015 tells us about the emerging field of presidential candidates for 2016.

1. Vaccination politics are a problem for Republicans — not Democrats.

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