Rand Paul Breaking Law to Run for President

Rand Paul Breaking Law to Run for President

Paul’s wife might hold the key vote to his presidential run, but he’ll have to change more than just his wife’s mind. He may have to change the law. A Kentucky state law prevents a candidate from appearing on the same ballot twice. So if Paul decides to run for President in 2016 while defending his Senate seat at the same time, then he will have to be legally ready to challenge this law. Or be willing to play a gamble.

His supporters are already looking into possible solutions:

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, has drawn up legislation — “a one-sentence clarifier” — that would ensure that Paul has no problems.

Thayer, who said he has discussed the matter with Paul only in passing, is unsure whether to introduce the legislation in the coming year or wait until 2015, when Republicans hope to have majority control of the state House for the first time since 1921. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Doug Stafford, executive director of Rand PAC, Paul’s political action committee, feels optimistic, stating that “it doesn’t seem like Kentucky could prohibit somebody from doing two different federal elections since federal law applies to federal elections.” (Lexington Herald-Leader)

However, if that doesn’t work out, then Rand Paul may gamble with a tricky waiting game to see if it’s worth it or not, suggested Joseph Gerth of Courier-Journal.

The simplest solution is that he jumps into the presidential race and then decides by the last Tuesday in January of 2016, Kentucky’s filing deadline for partisan offices, whether or not he wants to stay in the race. …

[However, former Secretary of State Trey Grayson], who is now the director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, says that Paul’s options become more limited and tougher if he is doing well in those early elections and it becomes illogical for him to withdraw. …

The biggest problem, Grayson said, is that playing the waiting game could leave Republicans high and dry in the Senate race. …Kentucky law is unforgiving when it comes to nominees withdrawing. If Paul were to win the presidential nomination and also be re-nominated to the Senate, he would have to drop out of the Senate race to be eligible to win Kentucky’s electoral votes. (Courier-Journal)

It’s not the first time for this kind of scenario to happen according to the Lexington Herald-Leader:

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Vice President Joe Biden, D-Del., former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman and many others have done it.

So a legal work-around is extremely likely. No worries then, Paul isn’t going rogue on us anytime soon. If there’s anything definite, it’s that he plans to run for re-election as Kentucky’s senator. As for whether or not he’ll run for President in 2016 or not, we ourselves will have to play a waiting game.

 
(Photograph courtesy of Gage Skidmore, via Flickr Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)

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