GOP presidential contenders wave to the crowd in Manchester, N.H., in 1980, before a debate. From left" Philip Crane, John Connelly, John Anderson, Howard Baker, Robert Dole, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
It's ridiculously, absurdly early to talk about 2016 presidential politics. Only a fool would try to predict who will be the next Republican nominee just seven months after the last election for the White House.
Still, in most election cycles, the GOP would already have an obvious front-runner by now, one who would more than likely prevail as the party's pick.
Not this time.
"This will be the most open Republican nomination in 50 years," says Tom Rath, a former GOP attorney general of New Hampshire and a veteran of early state presidential politics.
Talk of Tennessee resident Ashley Judd running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky has turned up ambiguity in residency requirements that a state legislative leader says needs to be cleared up.
The U.S. Constitution requires only that Senate candidates be residents of the state they would represent "when elected." But Kentucky election law raises questions about whether candidates can have their names placed on ballots if they're not registered to vote in Kentucky. And only legal residents can be registered to vote.
Kentucky state Senate Floor Leader Damon Thayer said Tuesday the issue has never before been raised here. Thayer said the Legislature may have to address the ambiguity.
Judd, an actress who lives outside Nashville, is considering a run against U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky next year.
A bill allowing electronic voting for military members overseas has cleared the state House after amendments were added to allow for the electronic return of a ballot.
Senate Bill 1 did not original include the electronic return, despite Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes preferring the provision.
Many GOP lawmakers said the electronic return would leave ballots open to fraud and abuse. And state representative Tim Moore, an Air Force reservist and a Hardin County Republican, says he believes it would compromise legal protections for a secret ballot.
"I absolutely believe that this violates the very Constitution these folks are sworn to uphold."
A Republican-led push to use college IDs to vote in Tennessee was held up on the floor of the state Senate Thursday, as a disagreement has broken out between GOP lawmakers over the issue.
The legislation comes from a Rutherford County lawmaker, home to the largest undergraduate student body in the state. And while Senator Bill Ketron refused to accept student IDs when the law was passed two years ago, he’s now had a change of heart.
Senator Stacy Campfield of Knoxville has not.
“You know, I hate to say it, but possibly in my younger days I may have known a person or two who had a falsified college ID,” said Campfield.
The state Senate has passed a bill that allows Kentucky military personnel to register to vote and receive ballots electronically—but they'll have to use snail mail to send the ballots back.
Senate President Robert Stivers would allow deployed citizens to register to vote and receive their ballots electronically.
Initially, a floor amendment to the bill would have allowed the military members to return the ballots electronically, but the amendment was withdrawn by sponsor Sen. Kathy Stein, a Lexington Democrat.
Stein said she thinks the state House will reinsert that provision into the bill.