Rand Paul

At the last minute, Rand Paul comes through with caucus funds

With $250,000 from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in hand, the Republican Party of Kentucky confirmed Friday that it will proceed with a presidential preference caucus on March 5.

Friday was the final day for Paul to provide funding for the caucus under a deal struck by party leaders last month.

The party had not received all of the money by Friday morning, but officials said later in the day that "the conditions have been met for the Republican Party of Kentucky to move forward with a presidential caucus in 2016."

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The caucus was narrowly approved by the Kentucky GOP's state central committee last month after allies of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calmed the nerves of skittish committee members by proposing that Paul transfer $250,000 to the state party by Sept. 18. Some Republicans were worried that the state and county parties would be left to pay for the caucus themselves.

Paul had asked the committee to trust that he was good for the money, but that argument met increased resistance after Paul wrote a letter to committee members a week before their meeting, telling them he had already transferred the money even though he hadn't.

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If Paul hadn't provided the money to the state party by the end of Friday, the process for nominating a presidential nominee in Kentucky would automatically revert to the traditional primary in May.

"We're incredibly excited to be moving forward with a caucus in Kentucky," said Doug Stafford, Paul's senior adviser. "This is great news for Republicans across the commonwealth who will now play an important part in the presidential primary nominating process."

The caucus was proposed as a way to help Paul get around a state law that prohibits a candidate from appearing twice on the same ballot. Paul wants to run for both president and re-election to his Senate seat next year.

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