Thursday, March 10, 2016

Republican Caucus Held

Cruz wins Webster, Trump takes Kentucky

For the first time in history, voters in Webster County and across the Commonwealth turned out on a Saturday to vote, as the Kentucky Republican Party held its first ever Presidential Caucus. Although U.S. Senator Ted Cruz would claim Webster County, real estate mogul Donald Trump would go on to take the statewide vote.

“We had a lower turnout than expected,” said Brian Reynolds, chairman of the Webster County Republican Party. “We were anticipating around 500 voters.”

Of the 1,200 registered Republicans in Webster County, only 231 showed up at the Poole Fire Department on Saturday to cast their vote.

Reynolds gives much of the credit for the low turnout to poll times, which were from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
“If the voting time was longer, maybe 8:00 until 6:00, we would have had a better turnout,” said Reynolds. “We had a major influx of voters after the UK basketball game ended
Although Cruz claimed the victory in Webster County, Trump went on to take a narrow win in the statewide vote, defeating Cruz 82,493 to 72,503.

Experts give much of the credit for the strong statewide turnout to Donald Trump, who has been a polarizing figure in this year’s campaign.

Al Cross, the Director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, interviewed 40 voters outside of caucuses in Georgetown and Versailles on Saturday.
“I want to see change and I think he’s the man who will do it,” Georgetown auctioneer Chip Foley told Cross. “I’m fed up with the insiders.”

But amid the many fans of the New York businessman, some Bluegrass voters said they turned out to keep him from winning the party’s nomination.

“Anybody but Trump,” homemaker Michelle Glenn said as she stood in a long line to vote in the gymnasium of the First Methodist Church in Georgetown, where police had to direct heavy traffic.

Glenn said she would vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who appeared to be the main beneficiary of the anti-Trump vote. Patricia Fannin of Georgetown also said she would vote for Cruz because “He’s standing up against Trump.”

The big loser was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who canceled an appearance in Lexington the day before, despite support from much of Kentucky’s Republican establishment, and appeared to suffer from his locker-room-style attacks on Trump.

“I was with Rubio until yesterday,” because of his style, said Mary VanNunen of Georgetown, who switched to Cruz. She said of Rubio, “I didn’t like his vulgarness.”

The totals for the statewide caucus were:

Donald Trump (32.92%) 82,493
Ted Cruz (31.57%) 72,503
Marco Rubio (16.36%) 37,579
John Kasich (14.43%) 33,134
Dr. Ben Carson (0.85%) 1,951
Ran Paul (0.38%) 872
Jeb Bush (0.13%) 305
Mike Huckabee (0.08%) 174
Chris Christie (0.03%) 65
Carly Fiorina (0.03%) 64
Rick Santorum (0.01%) 31

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