Politics

The Republican Party of Kentucky has approved basic details of the presidential caucus on March 5.

This week, RPK announced it has finalized locations in the counties where Republicans can cast ballots in March.

“We have 111 counties who are holding locations for the caucus in their county,” said Mike Biagi, RPK’s executive director. “The other nine are participating in a neighboring county in a regional caucus and those voters who don’t have a caucus in their county can vote by absentee.”

Voters will go to local county caucus locations anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time that Saturday to vote for their Republican nominee for president by secret ballot.

In order to participate, though, voters must be registered members of the party by Dec. 31.

Biagi said the presidential caucus is an opportunity to grow the party’s roster.

“We have been encouraging Democrats and independents and any non-voters who want to register to vote to join our party, especially given that many of them might agree with our principles and our party and just have them register to vote as a Republican,” he said.

Republicans have been gaining ground on Democrats in Kentucky voter registration for years.  Biagi said that was made clear during this year’s elections, when Republican Matt Bevin won the governor’s race in a vast majority of the state’s counties.

Republican leaders approved a the presidential caucus in August at the request of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who was seeking a way to simultaneously run for both the U.S. Senate and the White House next year. State law prohibits candidates from appearing twice on a ballot.

Kentucky Republicans traditionally voted for president in a May primary.

Paul is providing funds for the state’s caucus.

According to a press release from RPK, eight candidates have filed for Kentucky’s caucus: Jeb Bush, former Florida governor; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Paul; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; businessman Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson.

Presidential candidates must file their declaration of candidacy Jan. 7 in order to participate.

RPK’s press release also said “Republican delegates to the national convention will be awarded proportionally based on the results of the caucus.”