Elections

With the Iowa caucuses in the books, the focus of the political world has shifted to the first-in-the-nation-primary state, New Hampshire. New Hampshire voters, with their contrarian reputation, head to the polls Tuesday. Expect the unexpected.

Here are five things to know about how it all works:

1. Voting is straightforward

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.

Election night has wrapped and Republicans are celebrating. Here are five key points from the 2015 general election.

Kentucky leads the nation in smoking, and how the state goes about addressing that distinction will rest in part with the next governor.

A handful of state legislators have pushed, in vain, in recent years to for a statewide ban on smoking in public indoor places. Critics, however, say the law would infringe on the rights of individuals.

Kentucky voters may be able to register to vote and update their information online during next year’s presidential election.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced in Louisville Tuesday that her office will be extending online registration to all eligible voters in the state. The service is currently only available to military voters.

Grimes had advocated for a bill earlier this year creating online registration, but it didn’t pass through the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Grimes instead went through the state’s administrative regulation process, and now the program is effective law.

“Kentucky can’t wait any longer,” Grimes said. “We are finally entering the 21st Century as it relates to election administration.”

Owens said he appreciated Grimes’ efforts to get online registration approved in the state.

“This is probably, as far as I am concerned, one of the most monumental events taking place in our commonwealth today because we are now going to ensure that everyone will have an opportunity to register and update their registration electronically,” said state Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville.

Thursday’s recanvass of two Kentucky primary election races has not changed the election night outcome.

Clerks in all 120 counties double-checked their totals from the GOP primaries for governor and agriculture commissioner, and reported those totals to the state board of elections.

Following the recanvass, Matt Bevin remains the victor over James Comer in the gubernatorial contest, and Ryan Quarles maintained his more than 1,400 vote margin of victory in the agriculture commissioner’s race.

James Comer’s campaign manager issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying Comer was on vacation with his family in Florida and would make an announcement Friday concerning the next steps he’ll take regarding the governor’s race.

Comer could ask for a recount—something that would require a lawsuit and would be paid for by the candidate.

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The Warren County Clerk predicts her office will complete Thursday’s recanvass in about one hour.

Lynette Yates doesn’t believe there will be great changes to the vote totals in the Republican primaries for governor and agriculture commissioner. She says her office will first scan electronic cards that compiled totals from each voting machine in the county.

“Then we have tapes coming out of each of those voting machines that back up those numbers. So what we will do tomorrow is get all of those tapes out of all of our precincts, and recalculate everything, and go over all the numbers.”

After the recanvass, each county clerks office will fax their updated numbers to the state board of elections.

“I don’t think that there will be a lot of change,” Yates said. “There shouldn’t be—but sometimes calculations with the machines may not have scanned correctly, or something like that. That would be very obscure for something like that to have happened.

James Comer asked for a recanvass of the GOP gubernatorial primary that he lost to Matt Bevin by 83 votes. The other race being recanvassed tomorrow is the Republican Agriculture Commissioner primary, which Ryan Quarles won by a little more than 1,400 votes over Richard Heath.

State Representative Richard Heath of Mayfield will seek a recanvass after narrowly losing his bid for theRepublican nomination for agriculture commissioner in Tuesday’s primary.

With more than 180,000 votes cast in the race, State Representative Ryan Quarles came out ahead of Heath by less than 1,000 votes. Jean-Marie Lawson Spann of Bowling Green was unopposed for the Democraticnomination for agriculture commissioner.

Incumbent commissioner Republican James Comer opted to run for governor rather than seek re-election.

Unofficial GOP Primary Totals

With all precincts reporting, Matt Bevin leads James Comer by 83 votes. Those are unofficial totals. Comer says he wants a recanvass, but is also pledging to support Bevin if the numbers hold.  

Bevin Barely Ahead in Republican Primary for Governor

With 99% of the vote counted, Matt Bevin leads James Comer by 83 votes.

Primary Races Called:

Whitney Westerfield, GOP primary for Attorney General

Allison Ball, GOP primary for Treasurer

Rick Nelson, Democratic primary for Treasurer

A record number of Kentuckians are registered to vote just ahead of the primary election on May 19, the secretary of state’s office announced Monday.

Despite this, voter turnout in this year’s primary is still expected to be low, with estimates ranging from 15 percent down to the single digits.

Kentucky has 3,175,905 voters registered, up from 3,147,157 in the November general election last year—the state’s previous record for voters registered.

“I am excited to see that more and more Kentuckians are registering to vote, and I hope these newly registered voters will exercise their right and responsibility to vote in the primary election,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who presides over elections in the state.

A little over 2.9 million people are registered as Republicans or Democrats, meaning they can vote in this month’s primary—which will decide which candidates end up on the November ballot for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and other statewide offices.

Another federal court has ruled that a Kentucky law that banned electioneering close to polling places violates free-speech rights.

A panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a judge's ruling that struck down the law.

The law was challenged by a northern Kentucky businessman after campaign signs were pulled from the yard of his auto body shop on election days in 2012 and 2014. He said the signs were removed by sheriff's deputies because they were within 300 feet of a polling place.

The appeals court panel said Kentucky officials failed to show why the state needs a no-political-speech zone much larger than the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld.

A spokeswoman for state Attorney General Jack Conway says the office is reviewing the ruling.

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