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Two-thirds of Bluegrass State voters, and a majority of Republicans, opposing changing state law to allow Paul to run for both offices
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriendpolitics.com editor
LOUISVILLE (CFP) — A new poll finds that Kentucky voters are less than enamored with the prospect of U.S. Senator Rand Paul seeking re-election in 2016 while also running for the Republican presidential nomination.
In a Bluegrass/Survey USA poll released September 1, 66 percent of state voters said they’re against changing Kentucky law to let Paul pursue both offices, something that is currently not allowed.
A majority of Republicans, 54 percent, were opposed, while only 36 percent supported the idea. Opposition rose to 57 percent among independent voters and 78 percent among Democrats.
Paul, who is considering a 2010 White House bid, maintains the Kentucky restriction is unconstitutional because of a 1995 Supreme Court ruling that a state can’t impose its own restrictions in races for federal offices.
GOP legislative leaders have been considering trying to change the law. However, that task is complicated by the fact that Democrats hold a four-seat majority Kentucky House, although that could change during legislative elections in November.
The law would only be necessary if Paul was successful in getting the Republican nomination. If he ran in the presidential primaries and didn’t win, he would be free to run for re-election to the Senate, as his father, Ron Paul, did in his U.S. House seat in Texas after he sought the White House in 2008.
The Senate seat of 2016 GOP presidential contender, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, is also up in 2016. But Rubio has said he will give up his Senate seat if he decides to run for president.
There is recent precedent for seeking national office and a Senate seat at the same time. In 2008, Joe Biden ran for both vice president and a Senate seat in Delaware, and, in 1960, Lyndon Johnson won re-election to the Senate from Texas at the same time he was winning the vice presidency.
In 2012, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan ran for both the House and the vice presidency at the same time. He kept his House seat after the Romney-Ryan ticket was defeated.