Knox to hold first-ever republican caucus

Kentucky is about to write a new and important chapter in its history, and Knox County will be writing one of those pages, as the Knox County Republican Party will host its first-ever Republican Presidential Caucus on March 5, 2016.

What does this mean to Knox County Republicans? It means they will be going to the election polls twice next year, once in March to vote for a Republican presidential candidate and again in the May Primary to vote for everyone else.

In October, Senator Rand Paul (R) announced he put up $250,000 to fund a Kentucky Caucus so that he can run for president while still seeking re-election to his Senate seat. To date, only Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz have officially paid their $15,000 fee to put their names on the March Kentucky ballot; however, Kentucky Republican Party officials says other candidates have signed up, and those names will be announced in the near future. The candidates’ filing deadline for the Republican presidential March Caucus is Jan. 7, 2016.

Ten of the 15 members of the Knox County Republican Party Executive Committee met Monday and voted unanimously to host a Republican Caucus, which will take place Saturday, March 5, at Knox Central High School. Mike Corey was voted the Caucus Campaign Chairman. Every county in Kentucky can host its own Republican presidential caucus or partner with a neighboring county. The counties have until Nov. 16 to submit a plan to host a caucus to the state Republican Party.

The Kentucky Republican Party will be in charge of the secret ballot, and residents could be voting by either paper or machine, depending on how the Kentucky Republican Party sets it up.

However, unlike a primary or general election, candidates are free to campaign on site. The only rule is that they must remain 25 feet from where people are actually voting.

“We could make it a party, and Kentucky Republicans would have the chance to meet and socialize with one another, all for a good cause,” said Caucus Campaign Chairman Mike Corey. “We may never get this chance again. We might as well make the best of it.”

Eligible Republican Kentuckian voters can still vote by absentee ballots, but absentee ballots must be requested from the Kentucky Republican Party, not the Knox County Clerk’s office. The registration deadline to vote is Dec. 31, 2015.