Rand Paul May Already Face a Hurdle for 2016

A state law in Kentucky does not allow a candidate to run for both president and senator on the same ballot.

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MARCH 07: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) takes the stage before addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord International Hotel and Conference Center March 7, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland. The CPAC annual meeting brings together conservative politicians, pundits and their supporters for speeches, panels and classes. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
National Journal
Michael Catalin
Add to Briefcase
Michael Catalin
March 17, 2014, 3:27 p.m.

A Ken­tucky polit­ic­al fight over a state law that gov­erns elect­or­al bal­lots is emer­ging as an early test for Sen. Rand Paul should he de­cide to run for pres­id­ent in 2016.

Ken­tucky’s ju­ni­or sen­at­or re­cently won straw polls in New Hamp­shire and at CPAC, and it’s no secret he is weigh­ing a cam­paign for the White House. There’s just one prob­lem: Ken­tucky law pro­hib­its can­did­ates from ap­pear­ing twice on the bal­lot, a po­ten­tial obstacle if you’re run­ning for Sen­ate and pres­id­ent.

That’s where Paul’s GOP al­lies come in. Da­mon Thay­er, ma­jor­ity lead­er of the Ken­tucky Sen­ate, is shep­herd­ing a bill through the Le­gis­lature that would solve the prob­lem, and last week Mitch Mc­Con­nell, minor­ity lead­er in the U.S. Sen­ate and Ken­tucky’s seni­or sen­at­or, said he sup­ports the ef­fort.

State Sen. Joe Bowen, who chairs the com­mit­tee that handled the bill, says Ken­tucky Re­pub­lic­ans have been dis­cuss­ing the meas­ure since be­fore the cur­rent le­gis­lat­ive ses­sion began earli­er this year. For them, it ac­com­plishes two things: It helps an in­flu­en­tial polit­ic­al fig­ure, and it raises the state’s pro­file. They say it’s no dif­fer­ent from Rep. Paul Ry­an run­ning for his House seat and the vice pres­id­ency in 2012 or Joe Biden run­ning for his Sen­ate seat in Delaware and the vice pres­id­ency in 2008.

“We’re mo­tiv­ated to al­low him to run for both of­fices,” Bowen said. “My in­terest is, one, he’d make an ex­cel­lent pres­id­ent, and two it’d be good for the com­mon­wealth of Ken­tucky.”

Paul’s camp casts the state Sen­ate bill as a kind of in­sur­ance policy and in­sists that the Ken­tucky law per­tains only to state of­fices and not their fed­er­al coun­ter­parts.

“We are not seek­ing to change the law, but rather to cla­ri­fy that the Ken­tucky stat­ute does not ap­ply to fed­er­al elec­tions,” RAND PAC Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or Doug Stafford said in a state­ment. “Fed­er­al law gov­erns fed­er­al elec­tions, and the Su­preme Court has made it clear that states can­not im­pose ad­di­tion­al qual­i­fic­a­tions bey­ond those in the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

That’s an ar­gu­ment that Paul might have to press in court be­cause the state House and gov­ernor­ship in Ken­tucky are con­trolled by Demo­crats, and neither shows any sign of sup­port­ing the Sen­ate bill, which Bowen said he ex­pects will pass the up­per cham­ber be­fore the end of the ses­sion.

Re­pub­lic­ans ar­gue Demo­crats should back the meas­ure be­cause it could one day help them. They cast the bill as non­par­tis­an.

“There are some naysay­ers,” Bowen said. “There are some naysay­ers on apple pie.”

But Ken­tucky Demo­crats aren’t about to change their minds. Demo­crat­ic House Speak­er Greg Stumbo has shot the idea down.

“If you’re gonna run, you oughta make up your mind and run for one of­fice and one of­fice only,” Stumbo said last month.

Still, Re­pub­lic­ans are tak­ing some heart. The pro­pos­al won the sup­port of Demo­crat­ic state Sen. Mor­gan McGar­vey, which en­cour­aged Bowen. He blames some of the op­pos­i­tion on end-of-ses­sion ten­sion.

“Nerves are frayed,” he said. “We’re wind­ing down. Maybe they have a change of heart. Talk is cheap.”

What We're Following See More »
AND POLICE OFFICERS IN EVERY SCHOOL
Gov. Scott Wants to Raise Gun-Purchase Age to 21
1 days ago
THE LATEST
IN THE WAKE OF NEW CHARGES
Gates Expected to Plead Guilty, Cooperate with Mueller
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is expected to plead guilty to a raft of new tax and fraud charges filed against him by special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday. Gates is expected to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.

Source:
32 COUNTS
Mueller Hits Manafort, Gates with New Charges
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Robert Mueller announced new charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort advisor Rick Gates. "The new indictment contains 32 counts, including tax charges." The pair had been indicted on 12 charges in October. Since then, Gates's attorneys have asked to be excused from the case.

Source:
SECOND TIME FBI FAILED TO ACT
FBI Failed To Act On Parkland Shooter Tip
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

The FBI has reported that it failed to respond to a warning from "a person close to" Nikolas Cruz, the teen accused of killing 17 people at Parkland High School on Thursday. "It was the second time the FBI apparently failed to follow up on Cruz." On the first occasion, it failed to properly investigate Cruz after it was reported to them that he left the following comment on a Youtube video: "Im going to be a school shooter."

Source:
FBI MISSED TIP ON PARKLAND SHOOTER
Florida Governor Calls on FBI Director to Resign
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Florida Governor Rick Scott called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign following revelations that the FBI had failed to adequately investigate multiple warnings about Parkland High School gunman Nikolas Cruz. “The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,'" said Scott. '...We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act.'" According to an FBI statement, the FBI failed to inform local offices of information regarding "Cruz's desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login