Rand Paul has been wrestling with a Kentucky law which states that a candidate’s name cannot appear on a primary ballot for more than one office. Obviously this interferes with Paul’s presidential ambitions since he’d like to run for President and simultaneously run for his current Kentucky Senate seat in 2016. There is one legal way to get around this law and Paul will be pushing the Kentucky GOP to go along with his plan.
Report from CBS News:
Paul will lobby the party’s 54-member executive committee to vote to approve a caucus during their March 7 meeting in Bowling Green.
In his letter, the senator suggested Kentucky’s current primary, which comes relatively late in the process, effectively deprives Kentuckians of a meaningful voice in the nominating process.
“It has been suggested by others for several cycles that Kentucky has no influence on the presidential process because of our late primary,” Paul wrote. “By May 2016, the GOP will likely have decided its nominee, rendering our votes useless in deciding anything.”
Creating a separate caucus for the presidential nomination would also allow Paul to simultaneously run for president and reelection to his seat – something he would not be able to do under current Kentucky law, which prohibits a name from appearing on a primary ballot for more than one office.
Paul acknowledged that added benefit in his letter. “As most of you know, moving up Kentucky’s presidential primary election would also allow me to make a run for the nomination and seek re-election,” he wrote. “I believe I can keep helping the people of Kentucky as senator, but I think there is no doubt I could help them even more as president.” [Emphasis added]
Note the last emphasized line. In other words, he’s all in for the presidency in 2016 so we might as well move him into the exploratory category. The self-serving request to hold a caucus is quite glaring but, under current Kentucky law, he can’t run for President and keep the Senate campaign as his backup. This remedy would avoid changing the law, something far messier than dealing with the Kentucky GOP, and basically give Paul the green light to run two campaigns in 2016.
This will not sit well with some voters who feel that sitting Senators shouldn’t essentially relinquish their duties while running for president. How much could this hurt him? Time will tell but I’m betting the people of Kentucky won’t hold it against him too much.