2016 Elections

Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

Kentucky’s March Republican presidential caucus won’t feature an active candidate from the Bluegrass State.

Senator Rand Paul announced Wednesday that he is ending his run for the White House.

The move came two days after Paul’s fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

“Although, today I will suspend my campaign for President, the fight is far from over,” Paul said in statement released to the media Wednesday morning. “I will continue to carry the torch for Liberty in the United States Senate and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term."

The Paul campaign helped convince the Kentucky Republican Party to hold a presidential caucus in March instead of its normal May primary, so that Paul could run for both the White House and re-election to the U.S. Senate.

NPR: Why Rand Paul Failed to Capture the Libertarian Movement

Paul’s exit from presidential contest a month before the Kentucky caucus will likely raise questions about the maneuver.

Abbey Oldham

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is suspending his presidential campaign.

The Bowling Green Republican released a statement to the media Wednesday morning announcing the move.

"Although, today I will suspend my campaign for President, the fight is far from over," Paul said in his statement. "I will continue to carry the torch for Liberty in the United States Senate and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term."

The decision comes two days after Paul finished a distant fifth in the Iowa GOP Caucus.

The Republican Party of Kentucky is holding a presidential caucus March 5 so that Paul could run for both the White House and another U.S. Senate term at the same time.

Paul's move to quit the presidential race means he can concentrate on his Senate re-election effort. He faces two little-known Republican primary challengers. Seven Democrats are running for the seat, including Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

Donald Trump thought he could upend Iowa caucus traditions. The gamble didn't pay off.

Hillary Clinton hoped she could wipe away her campaign nightmares of eight years ago by posting a solid win over an insurgent Bernie Sanders.

Instead, her margin of victory over Sanders was vanishingly small.

Those were just some of the surprise twists from Monday night's results. Here's what the numbers and results tell us about how and why they happened, according to our analysis of the entrance/exit polling and the county-by-county results.

WFPL News

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky placed fifth in the Iowa Republican Caucuses on Monday, raising further questions about the viability of his presidential campaign and when he might divert his attention to defending his Senate seat in earnest.

Paul’s attention has been primarily focused on the presidential race, in which he has fallen from being “the most interesting man in politics,” as proclaimed last year by Time magazine, to sharing a tiny piece of the Republican electorate dominated by frontrunners Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

Paul gained 4.5 percent of the vote in the Iowa Republican Caucuses. Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, won the Iowa caucuses ahead of businessman Donald Trump.

Iowa Caucus Results: 6 Things That Explain How It Happened

But Paul will face two Republican challengers in the May U.S. Senate primary election. More daunting is the General election, where he’ll likely square off against Democratic Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, a wealthy businessman.

In just over a month, Kentucky Republicans will hold a presidential caucus for the first time in more than three decades. Republicans in the past have joined Democrats in holding a May primary election for president. But this year is different.

Warren County Caucus Chairman David Graham spoke to WKU Public Radio about the differences between a caucus and primary.

Graham:  Caucuses can be very different, but in our case, it's going to be very much like a primary, only it will be at a different date, and it will be run by the party and not the county or state.  Our caucus will be March 5.  Most every county will have one voting location and voters can come in anytime between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and vote very much like they would in a normal primary.

Abbey Oldham

As U.S. Senator Rand Paul prepares for a Republican presidential debate Thursday night, a former Kentucky House Speaker says Democrats could benefit from Paul’s White House bid.

Glasgow attorney Bobby Richardson was a state Representative from 1972-1990, and served as House Speaker during the 1982 and 1984 General Assembly sessions.

Richardson says whoever emerges as the Democrat’s nominee for U.S. Senate should remind voters Paul is seeking two offices at the same time.

“I think he needs to say he’s running for the United States Senate, and I’m going to be a Senator. I’m not going to be running for President, and I’m not going to be running for anything else. I’m going to be there taking care of business.”

The Kentucky Republican Party is holding a presidential caucus March 5 so that Paul can run for re-election to the Senate and seek the White House simultaneously.

LRC Public Information

Kentucky voters have a clear idea of their options for state legislature this year.

The filing deadline for candidates to run as a Democrat or Republican in all 100 state House seats and half of the state Senate seats passed on Tuesday afternoon. The deadline has also passed to run in a special election in March for four vacant state House seats.

Since the GOP’s strong showing in statewide elections in November, Republicans have set their sights on taking the House, the last Democratic-controlled state legislative body in the South.

Democrats currently hold a 50-46 control of the House.

Here’s a rundown of the legislative elections.

The special elections for four vacant seats in the state House could have profound implications for the control and political makeup of the chamber.

The GOP at best even the House at 50-50 if Republicans with a sweep of the races, sending the House into uncharted territory in terms of who leads the chamber.

The winners of the elections will only hold the seat through the end of 2016. All 100 House seats will be up for grabs in the general election in November.

The special elections will take place on March 8 in the following districts:

Office of Lexington Mayor

Lexington Mayor and Democrat Jim Gray is running for U.S. Senate.

Gray, 62, told the Herald-Leader that he decided last week that he would challenge incumbent Republican Rand Paul of Bowling Green.

Gray is a Barren County native and chairman of Gray Construction. He's in his second term as mayor of Kentucky's second-largest city.

Gray posted a video on YouTube announcing his Senate bid.

Gray isn't the only Democrat who has filed to run against Paul.

Phelps manufacturing worker Jeff Kender, retired navy officer Tom Recktenwald of Louisville and Owensboro business owner Grant Short are also seeking the Senate seat.

Paul also has two Republican challengers for the May primary election — Lexington financial analyst James Gould and Stephen Slaughter, an engineer from Louisville.

WFPL News

Kentuckians seeking to run for Congress or Senate as a Democrat or Republican have until this afternoon to officially declare a candidacy.

Through Monday afternoon, only a handful of Kentuckians were vying for the jobs.

Five of Kentucky’s incumbent U.S. House members are seeking re-election, and so is U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. So far, none of them are facing high-profile challenges.

There’s always the potential for a strong candidate to enter just before the deadline passes — that’s precisely how Matt Bevin launched his successful bid for governor a year ago.

Here’s a rundown of who is running with one day to go.

U.S. Senate

Despite rumors that Lexington Mayor Jim Gray will make a bid for the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul still doesn’t have any prominent challengers.

Kentucky LRC

A top Democrat in the Kentucky House says he will not seek re-election.

Johnny Bell of Glasgow plans to retire from the General Assembly after eight years. 

The House Majority Whip says the political atmosphere in federal and state legislatures has changed, and it’s more about politics than about serving the people. The 50-year-old Bell serves Barren and a portion of Warren County. 

His announcement comes as Democrats hold a narrow 50-46 majority in the Kentucky House with four seats up for grabs in a special election March 8. 

Glasgow Attorney Danny Basil and City Councilman Joe Trigg, both Democrats, will run for Bell’s seat along with Republicans Freddie Joe Wilkerson and Steve Riley.

Tuesday is the filing deadline for candidates seeking office this year.

Just seven candidates will take the main stage for the next Republican presidential debate, on the Fox Business Network on Thursday evening — the fewest of any GOP debate so far in the 2016 campaign.

Businessman Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will battle it out in the main event in Charleston, S.C.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Vox Efx

Voters taking part in Kentucky’s Republican presidential caucus in March might notice one big difference when they cast their ballots: campaign swag in the same room where they’re voting.

In typical Kentucky elections, as much as holding a campaign sign within 100 feet of a polling station is illegal. State law also prohibits people from distributing campaign literature or soliciting signatures and votes within that same distance of a voting location.

But the March 5 presidential caucus is no regular election run. Unlike typical Kentucky elections, local county clerks and state officials aren’t involved. The caucus will be made up of multiple private events held by the Republican Party of Kentucky, and the party gets to do things its way.

Republicans will choose candidates for the party’s presidential nomination at events organized by local county Republican parties. Material from the campaigns and the party will be among the first things voters see when they go to their caucus sites on March 5, RPK Executive Director Mike Biagi said.

Rand Paul’s presidential campaign is still not gaining speed.

At this point, it’s a running theme.

Last week, Paul barely made it on to the main stage (again) for the Republican presidential debate, and many pundits are expecting Paul to drop out of the race any day now.

111 of 120 Kentucky Counties to Hold Caucuses on March 5

Dec 16, 2015

All but nine of Kentucky's counties will hold a caucus on March 5 as the state divides its delegates for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Republican Party of Kentucky announced 111 of the state's 120 counties will hold caucuses on March 5. Registered Republican voters in the other nine counties can participate in neighboring county caucuses or vote by absentee ballot.

Kentucky Republicans are holding a presidential caucus for the first time so that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul can run for president and re-election without violating a state law banning candidates from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election.

Only registered Republicans can participate. The deadline to register is Dec. 31. Eight candidates have filed for the Kentucky caucus so far, including front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Editor's Note: Some readers might find some of the language below offensive.

This post was updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

Donald Trump has made his most outrageous statement yet in a string of beyond-the-pale utterances.

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