Kentucky made history Saturday by holding its first Republican caucus. It was a success, to say the least.
The event, which began at 10 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m., caused traffic to back up on Nashville Road and saw people waiting outside in somewhat poor weather to get inside the Knicely Conference Center to cast their vote.
An estimated 5,000 people turned out for the caucus in Warren County alone, and there were reports that across the state people waited in long lines before officials opened the doors to other counties’ caucus sites.
The caucus, which was made possible by the Republican Party of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., made Kentucky a relevant state in this year’s presidential election. In years past, Kentucky voters cast their ballots in the May primary. By that time, the candidates of both parties often were already chosen.
Many media outlets downplayed the significance of the caucus and said voter turnout would be low because voters didn’t know where to go, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, turnout was higher for the caucus at 18 percent, compared to 13.9 percent in 2012 for the primary.
Holding this caucus, which was won by New York businessman Donald Trump, earlier in the election process put Kentucky in the spotlight, which is great for our state. We believe a big reason for the large turnout by Republicans is that voters wanted to be heard in a hotly contested race.
On Saturday night, people across the nation turned their eyes to Kentucky to see who would be victorious. Unlike in previous presidential primaries, the national media descended on Bowling Green and Kentucky because we were holding this caucus. CNN was at the Knicely Center, and Fox News, The Washington Post and other major media outlets visited other cities in Kentucky to report on this history-making caucus.
Viewers of news networks could see news anchors watching the map of Kentucky minute by minute to see what the results would be.
Kentucky has never received this kind of national attention in a presidential primary in our memory. That means one thing: The caucus in Kentucky was a huge success. It made our state relevant in the presidential selection process and it gave Republican voters a chance to be a part of the process before the actual nominee is selected.
Above all, the entire nation cared how Kentuckians voted Saturday. The caucus could be the beginning of many to come as we hope Republicans, as well as Democrats, will consider holding caucuses in the future to make our state relevant as it was in this presidential cycle.
Bowling Green Daily News