Elections

In Thursday night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — each with one nominating contest victory — looked ahead to the upcoming primaries in Nevada and South Carolina. Here are a few of the big takeaways from the debate.

1. A focus on African-American issues

(Note: Tonight's debate, moderated by PBS NewsHour anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, will be simulcast on CNN and NPR and streamed live on NPR.org. NPR's Tamara Keith will be part of the debate broadcast, providing analysis during and after the event.)

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton meet Thursday night on a debate stage in Milwaukee. It's their first face-to-face matchup since Tuesday's New Hampshire primary where Sanders beat Clinton by more than 20 points.

Tuesday night's New Hampshire primary offered little surprise in terms of who actually won: Donald Trump triumphed big on the GOP side, while Bernie Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton with Democratic voters, just as polls had predicted.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won clear, early and decisive victories in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night.

Trump beat the GOP field by double digits. He got 35 percent of the vote, well ahead of surprise second-place finisher John Kasich, who pulled in 16 percent. Kasich was followed by Ted Cruz at 12 percent, Jeb Bush at 11 percent and Marco Rubio, who, after a poor debate performance Saturday, faded to fifth just shy of 11 percent.

After Paul Bows Out, Some Kentucky Supporters Go To Rubio

Feb 9, 2016
Flickr/Creative Commons/Marc Nozell

Some of Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s top supporters in the state legislature are endorsing Marco Rubio ahead of the state’s Republican presidential caucus next month.

State party leaders scheduled a presidential caucus for March 5 so that Paul could avoid a state law banning candidates from running for two offices at the same time.

But Paul ended his presidential campaign last week after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses and will instead focus on his Senate re-election.

NPR: Five Things to Know Ahead of the New Hampshire Primary

Most of Kentucky’s Republican elected officials had not publicly supported a candidate out of respect for Paul. On Monday, Rubio’s campaign announced 24 state lawmakers endorsed him.

They include state Rep. Jeff Hoover, the top Republican in the Kentucky House, and state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, who introduced Paul at his presidential campaign kickoff rally last year.

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, WKU Public Radio

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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