A bill allowing Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul to simultaneously run for the presidency and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat in 2016 died earlier this week when the Kentucky legislature adjourned for the year. The bill had passed the Republican-controlled state Senate, but stalled in the Democratic-controlled state House of Representatives. “In Kentucky, you ought to run for one office at a time,” Brian Wilkerson, a spokesman for Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, told CNN on Thursday. “The speaker’s thoughts haven’t changed on that.” The state’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, is highly unlikely to call the legislature into special session to consider the measure. And that means if Paul’s allies in the state legislature want to try again, they’re going to have to wait until the legislature reconvenes next January. By that time, a number of 2016 White House contenders may already be officially in the race.
GOP State Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, a supporter of Paul’s, has argued that Kentucky’s law prohibiting running for two offices at the same time is meant to apply only to state-level offices – not federal offices such as the presidency, the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House.
“Senator Paul is very popular here, and I personally don’t want to deny Kentuckians the chance to vote for or against one of their own for the Senate if he’s also nominated for the presidency,” Thayer told CNN in March.
A number of other states let politicians run for the House or Senate while also running for the White House, Thayer noted.