Sen. Rand Paul is on track to officially jump into the presidential race on April 7, the New York Times reports, citing “people close to” the Kentucky Republican. “Only his family’s doubts could change his mind at this point, said associates of the senator,” according to the Times. While Paul’s entry into what is promising to be a crowded GOP field appears nearly a done deal, the first-term senator has one looming problem ahead: Kentucky law dictates that “no candidate’s name shall appear on any voting machine or absentee ballot more than once.” In other words, by law, Paul wouldn’t be able to compete in both his home state’s GOP presidential primary and Republican Senate primary, which will be held together on the same day in May 2016. Team Paul, meanwhile, has made it clear that their man isn’t willing to give up a second term in the Senate to battle for the GOP presidential nomination. So, game over then? Hardly. “There are avenues available to him, should he decide to run for both offices at the same time,” Doug Stafford, Paul’s top political strategist, told reporters on a conference call in early December. “I don’t think we have abandoned any option, nor have we settled on any option.”
Paul’s best-case scenario appears to be convincing the Kentucky Republican Party to abandon its current presidential nominating system, which assigns delegates to the national convention via its existing May 2016 primary. If Paul and his allies have their way, the state party would instead award delegates through a new presidential caucus that would be held in March 2016. That would allow Paul to compete in his state’s presidential nominating contest and then again two months later in the Senate primary without his name showing up twice on the same ballot. That’s only a temporary solution, though, because Paul would find himself back in the same double-listing pickle come November 2016 if he were to win the GOP’s presidential nomination. If that were to happen, he’d probably need to drop out of the Senate race to avoid having his name appear twice on the general election ballot, once as the Republican nominee for president and again as the party’s nominee for the Senate. But that, of course, would be a problem Paul would love to have.