Whitesburg KY

Rand Paul’s options

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:

• Paul could run for Senate in Kentucky’s primary — and for president in the other 49 states. 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.

• 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.

• Kentucky’s Republican Party 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.

• Paul could file a lawsuit asking a judge to allow him to be on the ballot twice.

• 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.

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