Paul faces hoops to run for both president, Senate

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2014 5:10 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky state law bars candidates from appearing on the ballot for more than one office in the same election. A look at how Republican Sen. Rand Paul might get around that potential roadblock should he decide to add a run for president to his plans, announced Tuesday, to seek a second term in the Senate in 2016:

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RUN FOR PRESIDENT, JUST NOT IN KENTUCKY

Paul could run for Senate in Kentucky's primary — and for president in the other 49 states. Given its late May spot on the primary calendar, Kentucky usually does not play much of a role in choosing the nominee. This strategy could backfire if Paul ends up in a close race with a Republican rival, similar to Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton's duel late into the 2008 primaries, and misses out on Kentucky delegates he may need to win the nomination.

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TRY TO MOVE THE PRIMARY DATE

If lawmakers move Kentucky's presidential primary to March, but keep the Senate primary in May, Paul could still run for both offices while not being on the ballot for both on the same day.

Why would the Democrats who control the state House consider such a switch? If they're supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who would be heavily favored in the Bluegrass state, it potentially would allow them to hand her a big win in a Southern state early in the year.

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ASK KENTUCKY'S GOP TO CHANGES ITS RULES

Kentucky's political parties can choose their nominee for president however they see fit. They could decide on a method other than a primary, including a caucus, a straw poll or a convention.

That way, Paul would not officially be on the ballot for president, but could still collect Kentucky's delegates. Some members of the state party's executive committee are open to this idea. The party has until Dec. 21, 2015, to decide.

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SEEK RELIEF IN THE COURTS

Paul could file a lawsuit asking a judge to allow him to be on the ballot twice. If Paul decides to go this route, he would have to decide soon. A court case could take months if not years to decide. And any decision a judge makes could be appealed.

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HELP ELECT A REPUBLICAN SECRETARY OF STATE

The current Kentucky secretary of state is Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat who just lost a spirited bid for Senate to Kentucky's senior senator, Mitch McConnell — a key Paul ally.

Grimes is the state's top election official, but has said she would seek guidance from the courts or the state attorney general should Paul try to file for both offices.

She is up for re-election in 2015, and could be running for governor. A Republican secretary of state would presumably have more sympathy to Paul and could help smooth his path onto the ballot for both offices.

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GENERAL ELECTION GAMBLE

Most of these options protect Paul in the primary. But he has fewer options for the general election, where he would most likely need a court order to appear on the ballot twice. He could withdraw from the Senate race, but Republicans would then face a legal fight to replace him on the ballot.