FRANKFORT — “Federal law governs federal elections and the Supreme Court has made it clear that states cannot impose additional qualifications beyond those in the (U.S.) Constitution,” said Doug Stafford, a senior advisor to Paul. “We are not seeking to change the law, but rather to clarify that the Kentucky statute does not apply to federal elections. We thank Sen. Thayer for taking this step in clarifying this issue.”
Thayer said Paul’s staff first approached him about sponsoring the legislation and that he’s had several discussions with Paul about it. He said Paul’s staff “had input” on the bill’s language as well and, “I think there’s pretty good support for it” in the Republican caucus.
But it isn’t unanimous, even among Republicans. Sen. Chris Girdler, R-Somerset, opposes the bill.
When CNHI News first reported last week that Paul was seeking such a bill from the Republican Senate, Girdler said, “Whether it’s Paul Ryan or Joe Biden or Rand Paul, I do not believe someone should be eligible to run for two offices at the same time.”
Thursday, Girdler said he hasn’t changed his mind. Asked how much support for the bill is evident among Republican Senators, Girdler said, “We really haven’t discussed it yet.”
Thayer also sponsored a Senate amendment that effectively changed House Bill 70 which would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights for most ex-felons, a bill important to the Democratic House and one supported by Paul.
Asked if he might be willing to offer to accept the original House version of that bill in exchange for the House’s acceptance of his ballot measure, Thayer said, “Probably not.”
Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at email@example.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.