Kentucky hosts Republican showdown


New Jersey governor Chris Christie introduces republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky. on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Marjorie Kirk [email protected]

The conclusion of Super Tuesday has left the Republican Party at an impasse. 

Now that Dr. Ben Carson is expected to drop out of the presidential race, the delegates are caught between the constituents’ frontrunner, businessman Donald Trump, and the trailing candidates, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and Gov. John Kasich. 

With the Kentucky Republican caucus on Saturday, Trump and Rubio scheduled rallies in Kentucky to draw voters and attention to their campaigns. However, Wednesday evening Rubio cancelled his Friday rallies in Lexington and Baton Rouge, to “use (his) time as efficiently as possible before Saturday’s contests,” according to an email sent to people who signed up for tickets in Baton Rouge.

According to associate professor Al Cross, former chief political reporter for the Courier-Journal, Carson’s choice to hold a town hall in Lexington on Monday was less likely about trying to survive in the presidential race, and more than likely because he would not have drawn as large of crowds as Trump or Rubio (prior to Rubio cancelling). 

“He knew that he wouldn’t get a big crowd. He’s not a very demonstrative person. He’s not a rallying guy, so a town hall was his kind of thing,” Cross said. “He was here the day before Super Tuesday and it’s ridiculous for him to stay in. There’s a rumor that the Republicans in Florida are lining him up to run for Rubio’s senate seat.” 

The campaign funds Carson raised can carry over if he runs for Senate, so the town hall was likely to draw more funds for a possible Senate run, according to Cross. 

Carson’s town hall began this week’s appearances by presidential hopefuls. Lexington and Louisville are the two major media markets of the state, Cross said, but Rubio’s camp likely wouldn’t have wanted to compete with Trump’s crowd in Louisville, which is probably why they chose to have it in Lexington on Friday. 

However, Rubio may have bigger concerns in gaining his all or nothing home state of Florida, whose 99 delegates could catch him up to Cruz. 

Cross said the results of Kentucky’s caucus will not likely cause any other candidates to drop out, but the results in big states like Michigan and Ohio will determine those who remain, especially Kasich, whose low numbers could improve if he wins his home state and neighbor Michigan.