Clearly eyeing the White House, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has asked Kentucky lawmakers to ensure that he can still run for re-election to his Senate seat if he opts for a 2016 presidential run.
According to Kentucky law, candidates are barred from running for two different offices at once, and both Paul's re-election to Senate and his campaign for president would fall in 2016, making his candidacy illegal in his home state. To fix this, Paul has enlisted state Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer (R) to begin crafting legislation to invalidate the old law and allow him to return to his Senate seat should he lose the 2016 presidential bid, the Washington Times reports.
“Yes, I am working on clarifying an ambiguous state law that Rand Paul believes is unconstitutional if it is interpreted to bar running for re-election to the Senate and for president at the same time,” Thayer told the Washington Times on Monday.
Speaking to Louisville’s WFPL, Thayer explained that Paul pitched the law to the entire Kentucky caucus, not just Thayer. As a supporter of Paul, Thayer says he was happy to ensure that Paul could run for the presidency and re-election to Senate.
“[He] explained much like I just did the situation in that he is running for the U.S. Senate in 2016, but that he is strongly considering seeking the Republican nomination for President," Thayer said. "I hope he does.”
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The Kentucky Legislature does not list Thayer as having introduced the bill yet, but Thayer still has until Wednesday to file it, at which point the window for introducing bills in the 2014 General Assembly expires.
Of course, Paul is far from the first candidate to consider running for an executive and a legislative position at the same time, though usually those doing so have sought the vice presidency. Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Lieberman have all run for re-election in Congress while maintaining vice presidential bids in 2012, 2008 and 2000, respectively. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen also did the same when running with Michael Dukakis in 1988.
In fact, Paul wouldn’t even be the first candidate to ever change his home state laws to allow him to run for both seats. In 1960, then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson arranged to have a similar law repealed in his home state of Texas, allowing him to run for re-election as senator and as vice president to John F. Kennedy.