- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Rand Paul has told fellow Kentucky Republicans that he made a $250,000 installment as part of his pledge to fully fund a proposed GOP presidential caucus in the state - an event that would allow him to run for president and re-election to the U.S. Senate at the same time without violating state law.

Paul pledged another $200,000 to pay for the proposed March 5 caucus in the Bluegrass state.

The freshman senator outlined his plans to pay for the caucus in a letter to members of the state GOP’s central committee. Committee members are scheduled to vote on the new rules Saturday.

Paul estimated it will cost $400,000 to $500,000 to run the caucus.

His letter was meant to ease any concerns the party would absorb some caucus costs.

“I will fully fund this caucus,” Paul said in the letter. “I want to do it on a schedule that makes sense legally and financially. I want to make sure no county chair or RPK will be on the hook for any money for this caucus,” he said, using the initials for the Republican Party of Kentucky.

Switching the state’s format from a primary to a caucus would allow Paul to run for president and the Senate at the same time without violating a state law banning candidates from appearing on the ballot twice.

Paul, the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, was once seen as a leading candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. But he has struggled to gain a foothold in the large field of candidates while dealing with the fallout from the indictment of a close confidant and leader of his Super PAC.

In his letter, Rand Paul said he had transferred $250,000 into an RPK account to begin the funding.

“Very little of the funding is needed this August, but I wanted to make sure there was plenty in there as we move forward,” he wrote.

Kentucky Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said Paul’s down payment was “a very appropriate good-faith gesture.” Thayer, a member of the state GOP’s central committee, said Monday he planned on supporting the caucus, based on what he had heard of Paul’s plan to pay for it.

Paul, a tea party favorite, also pledged to raise or transfer another $200,000 at a date agreed on by his campaign team and RPK. He estimated the second installment would come roughly in mid-fall.

Another $150,000 to $225,000 would be raised by charging the presidential candidates a $15,000 filing fee, Paul said. Similar fees are charged in other states, he said.

Following a Monday speech to a business group in Georgetown, Kentucky, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Paul was sticking to his commitment to raise the money to pay for the caucus.

McConnell, R-Ky., previously endorsed the caucus because of Paul’s commitment.

Asked if he was concerned about potential low participation at a caucus, McConnell said: “We’ve never done it before, which is why I was skeptical about it. But we wanted to do him a favor and allow him to compete for the presidency, and so as long as he picks up the costs that’s what we’re going to do.”

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