Libertarian conservative Sen. Rand Paul, a defender of states’ rights, is arguing that Kentucky does not have the authority to prohibit him from simultaneously running for president and seeking re-election to his current office in 2016, The Daily Beast
Paul has sought to change a longtime Kentucky law prohibiting a person from being on the ballot in two different races at the same time. The Kentucky Senate, controlled by Republicans, agreed but the bill got stymied in the Democratic-controlled House. It expired in April when it failed to gain traction before the House adjourned for the year, according to CNN.
"In Kentucky, you ought to run for one office at a time," Brian Wilkerson, a spokesman for Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, told CNN at the time.
Paul disagrees. In June, according to the Daily Beast, he said: "Can you really have equal application of federal law if someone like Paul Ryan or Joe Lieberman can run for two offices, but in Kentucky you would be disallowed? It seems like it might not be equal application of the law to do that."
The state’s governor, Democrat Steve Beshear, is "highly unlikely" to call for a special session on the matter, according to CNN, which means Paul would not have the opportunity to revisit the issue until January, when other presidential contenders have already entered the race.
The Daily Beast criticized Paul, a Constitutionalist, over his purported hypocrisy when it’s to altering a state law from which he would benefit. The situation puts Paul in a "political pickle," according to Daily Beast writer Michael Tomasky.
"Rand Paul, of all people, arguing that states don’t have the authority to dictate the rules for federal elections," Tomasky wrote. "Yes, Mr. States' Rights insists that this is the province of the federal government!" The writer noted that other states, including Florida, have similar laws.
"Marco Rubio — also up for re-election in 2016 and also considering a White House run — has defended it and said of running for the presidency: 'I think, by and large, when you choose to do something as big as that, you’ve really got to be focused on that and not have an exit strategy,'" Tomasky wrote.
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