Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

State News

March 13, 2014

Senate passes Thayer bill to ‘clarify’ election laws

FRANKFORT — Damon Thayer says he thinks Kentucky will likely have a “gargantuan” opportunity in 2016 to vote for “one of its own” for president, junior Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

But he doesn’t want Paul to have to give up his seat in the U.S. Senate to run, so the Republican Majority Leader in the state Senate is pushing a bill to change an existing Kentucky law that prohibits a candidate from appearing twice for separate offices on the same ballot.

Senate Bill 205 would “clarify” Kentucky election laws to allow any candidate to seek two federal offices at the same time. It easily passed out of the Republican-controlled Senate’s State and Local Government Committee Wednesday, even picking up the vote of Democratic Sen. Morgan McGarvey of Louisville.

Paul is in his first term as U.S. Senator but he’s pondering a run for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 and recently won a straw vote of conservative voters at the Conservative PAC meeting. He’s also turned up at or near the top of several presidential polls. But he would be up for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016 as well.

Thayer said the purpose of the existing Kentucky law is to prevent someone from running for two state offices at the same time and that he believes previous federal court rulings in other states and the U.S. Constitution supersede the Kentucky law.

The bill isn’t likely to fare well in the Democratic controlled state House where Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has said, “Well, we kind of take the position over here that a man who can’t decide which office he wants to run for ain’t fit to hold either office.”

Thayer understands the bill isn’t likely to pass the House.

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