Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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February 24, 2014

Paul asks Republican Senate for help in 2016 quandry

FRANKFORT — Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul last week asked Republican state senators to try to repeal a Kentucky law that bars anyone from appearing on the same ballot for more than one office.

Paul is considering a run for president in 2016, but that is also the year he would be up for re-election to the Senate. While Paul has consistently said he hasn’t made up his mind about running for president, he’s also criticized the law which would prevent him from running for both offices in Kentucky. (Some other states allow candidates to seek both a state and federal office in the same year.)

Paul was in Frankfort last Wednesday to testify in favor of a measure to automatically restore voting rights for ex-felons who’ve completed their sentences. After testifying for the bill, Paul met privately with the Republican state senators and asked them to try to change the law.

Sen. Carroll Gibson, R-Leitchfield, said Paul discussed several items with the group, including both the restoration of voting rights measure and his desire to be able to run for both offices in 2016. Asked which topic consumed most of the discussion, Gibson said, “The latter,” referring to the ballot measure.

Dan Bayens, Paul’s statewide communications director, confirmed Paul discussed the problem with the senators but he said Paul made it clear his first priority is to seek re-election as Kentucky’s senator.

“Rand committed to run for the Senate in 2016,” Bayens said. “Whatever else happens, he intends to be on the ballot for the Senate in Kentucky.”

Other than to say Paul has not made any decision about running for president, Bayens declined to address the ballot question.

Republican Caucus Chairman Dan Seum, R-Louisville, said the ballot question may have come up but, “From what I can recall, we talked more about restoring voting felon rights. But (Paul) is interested in that issue.”

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