Rand Paul says his hat is in the ring for 2016 – for another senate term. But Kentucky’s junior senator didn’t rule out a presidential bid.
Team Rand still hopes their guy can run for the senate and for president at the same time. Yet still on the books – and likely to stay there – is that Kentucky law that says he can’t do that.
Oh, the Republicans figured they’d be able to change the law when the General Assembly meets again in January.
All they had to do was flip the Democratic-majority House of Representatives. They talked like they had the election in the bag.
Meanwhile, the GOP-majority state Senate voted to change the law when the legislature got together last January. The measure failed in the Democratic-majority House.
Despite Sen. Mitch McConnell’s romp on Nov. 4, the Democrats held their 54-46 state House edge.So it looks like Team Rand is back to square one.
To be sure, candidates can – and have — run for two offices at the same time in other states. The latest double-dipper was Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. In 2012, he won reelection to the House but lost his bid for vice president.
Having been thwarted by the Democrats hold in the House, Team Rand is claiming the Kentucky double-dipping ban is unconstitutional. They’ve considered challenging it in court, an interesting prospect considering that Paul professes to be a “states’ rights” guy.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, doubts that changing the law to benefit Paul would pass constitutional muster. Such a switch could be considered special legislation, which the state charter forbids, Stumbo has pointed out.
The Speaker has more than a nodding acquaintance with the Kentucky constitution. He was the state attorney general in 2003-2007.
Anyway, the Paul camp has also mulled over skirting the law by calling for Kentucky to change its presidential primary for a caucus system.
That, too, would require the legislature’s approval. The Senate might go for it. But hogs will fly before the House of Stumbo would.
Caucus or no, if Paul became the GOP’s presidential standard bearer, his name still would be on the ballot twice when it counted – on November 8, 2016.
“Sen. Paul needs to make up his mind where he wants to serve,” suggested State Rep. Gerald Watkins of Paducah. “If he has his heart set on running for president he should go for it and not try to run for the U.S. Senate at the same time.”
Watkins is a Democrat. But he hastened to add that what he said about Paul goes for Democrats, too. “Running for two offices at the same time is not fair to the state a politician represents.”
In any event, Paul hasn’t formally said he’s a presidential candidate, but, you know, if it walks like duck. The tea party-tilting, greed-is-a-virtue Ayn Rand fan has been going out of his way to diss Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
While Paul’s political future remains uncertain, his record on labor issues could hardly be clearer: he despises unions.
Don’t take my word for it. Check out the AFL-CIO’s Legislative Scorecard. It’s online at http://www.aflcio.org/Legislation-and-Politics/Legislative-Voting-Records. In 2013, Paul voted the union position on bills zero percent of the time. His lifetime score is 4 percent. Soon to be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s score was 17 percent in 2013 and 12 percent lifetime.
Paul and McConnell teamed up to sponsor legislation to create a national right to work law.
So for those of us who pack union cards, a Sen. Paul or a President Paul is a lose-lose proposition either way.