There are few contests for state Legislature in America that could affect the 2016 presidential race. This one, in far western Kentucky, is one of them. The incumbent Democrat, Rep. Will Coursey, has been hampered by a lawsuit alleging sexually inappropriate behavior. He denies the allegations and blames Republicans for engaging in tactics that are “feces of the species of poultry.” His GOP opponent, Keith Travis, says he’s trying to turn Marshall County red at the statehouse for the first time since the mid-1800s. “I just felt like, after 172 years, we ought to at least make that opportunity available,” he said. It’s small-town American politics with big-time national consequences for a top 2016 prospect: Rand Paul. This race, along with a handful of others across Kentucky, could determine whether or not Paul is allowed to run for president and for Senate at the same time, something he’s indicated he’s determined to do.
Under current Kentucky law, Paul must choose to be on the ballot for one or the other. His Republican allies in the Kentucky state Senate have already pushed through a measure to let him run for both, but it has languished in the state’s Democratic-controlled House.
“Our position is that a man who can’t decide which office to run for isn’t fit for either office,” said Democratic Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo. “I don’t think that bill will ever see the light of day as long as I hold the gavel.”