FRANKFORT — Most people know Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is considering running for president in 2016. But, if he does, he wants to be able to hedge his bets by running for re-election to his Senate seat at the same time.
It’s not unheard of. Other states allow it and both Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and then-Delaware Sen. Joe Biden ran for re-election to their congressional seats when they were first-time vice presidential candidates.
Paul’s wish, however, runs into a problem with a Kentucky law that prohibits a candidate’s name from appearing simultaneously for two offices on the same ballot. Paul has said that’s unfair, and Republican state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown agrees.
Thursday, Thayer filed a bill to repeal the Kentucky law in the Republican-controlled Senate. But Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, Speaker of the Democratic controlled House, made it clear the bill isn’t going to go anywhere in the House.
“Well, we kind of take the position over here (in the House) that a man who can’t decide which office he wants to run for ain’t fit to hold either office,” said Stumbo. When asked if that applied to Democrats like Biden, Stumbo grinned and responded: “You can quote me on what I said.”
Thayer didn’t seem surprised by Stumbo’s attitude.
“We’re used to Speaker Stumbo killing lots of good Republican bills down there,” Thayer said. “If Speaker Stumbo is opposed to it, I would say its chances of passing the General Assembly are quite small.”
But that might not even be the goal. Paul and Thayer have known from the start the Democratic House isn’t likely to pass a bill that would specifically benefit a Republican. But passage by one chamber of the legislature might provide a reason for someone to sue and force the courts to decide the issue.