Kentucky is a horse-racing state, so we Kentuckians are pretty clear on the reality that a man can’t ride two horses at once. Rand Paul is no exception. He can’t “ride” in two races at the same time, according to Kentucky law, and given that he insists that he is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2016, it looks like a presidential bid for him is off the table, legally speaking. Unfortunately, he’s not being altogether up front about this with “we the people.”
The quandary for Paul is that he has to choose one or the other because, under Kentucky law, he’s legally precluded from running for both.
Paul told reporters after a speech to Lexington business leaders on Friday that he has formed a re-election committee and that he intends to be on the ballot for Senate, though he still didn’t rule out running for president.
“I’m really not going to equivocate on whether I’m running for Senate or not,” Paul said. “That will happen.” As far as a presidential bid, Paul said “it will probably be two years before we have a serious discussion” about that.
Why would he imply that he might run for president, even though Kentucky law says he can’t run in two races at once? Fundraising is mentioned in the C-J, and that would be my guess. Rand Paul has plenty of bridge-burning capability, but I seriously doubt that he would completely abandon Kentucky. He’s too smart for that. At the same time, he’s smart enough to know that his fans in other states who want to see him run for president probably won’t send him much money if they know (1) that he is committed to the U.S. Senate race and (2) that the law prevents him from running in two races.
Having said all of that, know this. Rand Paul might actually get my endorsement in the U.S. Senate race, depending on how the primary works out. Regular readers know that I did a write-in last time because I could not support either Rand Paul or his Democratic opponent. Fortunately for Kentucky, Paul has not been as extreme as some of us thought he would be. If no one challenges him in the primary — and it is highly doubtful that anyone will — he’s almost certain to get my endorsement in the general election. Certainly, Rand Paul has proven to me that he serves Kentucky far better than any Democrat could.
My advice to Rand Paul would be to be honest with people always, and specifically now about the reality of Kentucky law. You’re still a relatively young man. Stick with Kentucky for another election so that we don’t end up with a Democrat in the U.S. Senate. These “cat and mouse” games are a big part of the reason I distrust you. If you want to build my trust, be bold with the truth. If you’re bold with the truth, I’d walk across fire to see you re-elected. If you play “cat and mouse” I’d be very happy to vote for a conservative primary challenger over you any day of the week.
If you are a Rand Paul supporter encouraging him to run for president, I would say, at this point, that you are operating in opposition to the best interest of the Bluegrass State. Please don’t do that. On the other hand, if you want to support him in his bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate, that would probably be a very good idea. Don’t count that as an endorsement just yet, though. If some white knight comes riding out of the Kentucky hills to take on Rand Paul in the primary, well, I might just change my mind.
Cue Kentucky liberals calling me a racist for using the term “white knight.”