- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2015

As he officially debuts his 2016 presidential campaign on Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul has won an important victory inside the Kentucky Republican Party that could allow him to run both for Senate and the White House at the same time next year.

State GOP Chairman Steve Robertson has appointed a special committee to explore converting Kentucky’s presidential preference primary scheduled next May to a caucus to be held earlier in the year.

The special committee “will bring back a workable plan to present to the full central state committee to determine the feasibility of going ahead with a caucus, which will mean a lot of work for everyone involved,” said Second District Chairman Scott Lasley, who is running the effort.

Mr. Paul and his chief strategist, Doug Stafford, persuaded the state GOP executive committee to act on the idea with what some Republicans call the “approval” and others call the “acquiescence” of Kentucky’s most powerful Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The state central committee of more than 300 members must vote to approve the plan.

Mr. Paul says he will help raise the money for the state GOP to shoulder the financial burden of a state-party caucus.

SEE ALSO: Rand Paul unveils presidential preview: It’s time for a new leader, ‘a new set of ideas’

The move would benefit Mr. Paul on numerous fronts. If Mr. Paul can get all of his home state’s 45 delegates to the Republican presidential nominating convention in Cleveland next summer in his column early in the nomination contest – say, the first few weeks in March — he will look all the better to potential donors and band-wagon voters in subsequent primaries.

It also would allow Mr. Paul to hedge his election bets, running both for president and re-election to the Senate, without having to go to court to challenge the current legal requirements.

Currently, Kentucky’s elections rules call for a state-government financed presidential primary every four years. The regulations also stipulate that if you want to appear on the ballot for the U.S. Senate nomination — as Mr. Paul does so that he can have a second six-year Senate term if his presidential thing goes South — you can’t have your name on the ballot for a second office; namely in Mr. Paul’s case, the GOP presidential nomination.

• Ralph Z. Hallow can be reached at rhallow@gmail.com.

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