Often times people use the term “buying an election” when they discuss money in politics and how much special interests spend to support or oppose a candidate. However, one 2016 presidential candidate is literally going to buy an election so he can run for re-election in his current seat and run for president at the same time.
Ahead of the Kentucky GOP’s August 22 meeting, U.S. Senator Rand Paul petitioned the party to change its presidential primary to a caucus reportedly so he could bypass the state’s election law that prevents him from running for two offices during the same election cycle. Truth in Media reported Monday that the Kentucky GOP approved the proposal 111-36.
“While the proposal […] does not change the law that keeps candidates from appearing on two ballots in one election, it does allow Paul to run for the GOP nomination on March 5, and for re-election of his Senate seat on May 17,” Truth in Media’s Rachel Blevins reports.
There was one condition, however: the state party must receive $250,000 for caucus expenses in its bank account by September 18, “presumably from Paul’s campaign.” As reported on IVN, Paul sent an email to the party’s central committee on August 17 informing its members that he transferred $250,000 as a down payment for the presidential caucus.
“In the email, Paul promised to “fully fund this caucus,” and estimates the cost at $400,000 to $500,000. In addition to the $250,000 payment, Paul said he would “raise or transfer” $200,000 more. Paul also said he expects $150,000 to $225,000 to be raised by charging every presidential candidate who wants to participate in the caucus a $15,000 filing fee.” – James Ryan, IVN Independent Author
Paul told reporters after the vote that the proposal was not just about him.
“It really is about trying to grow the party and I’m thoroughly convinced that were I not in this race that this is just good for the Republican party,” he said.
Not everyone is convinced of this, however. In fact, the state’s chief election officer, Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, says 1.2 million Republican voters could end up being disenfranchised by the switch, and argues that “one candidate should not be able to buy an election.”
Yet, that is exactly what Rand Paul appears to be doing. What happens when an election system is allowed to serve the interests of a single candidate above the individual rights of citizens — even members of the candidate’s own party? What does that say about the state of our representative democracy?
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Photo Source: Reuters