U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY, plans to announce in March or April whether he will seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016. He has already announced plans to seek re-election to the Senate in the same year.
Kentucky state law bars candidates from appearing on the ballot for more than one office in the same election. Here's a look at how Republican Sen. Rand Paul might get around that potential roadblock should he decide to add a run for president in addition to his plan to seek a second term in the Senate in 2016:
RUN FOR PRESIDENT, JUST NOT IN KENTUCKY
Paul could run for Senate in Kentucky's primary -- and for president in the other 49 states. Given its late May spot on the primary calendar, Kentucky usually does not play much of a role in choosing the nominee. 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.
TRY TO MOVE THE PRIMARY DATE
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.
A state Senator from Louisville has become the first black person elected to a leadership position in the Kentucky General Assembly.
Senate Democrats elected Sen. Gerald Neal of Louisville as caucus chairman on Monday. WDRB reports Neal is the first black person elected to a leadership position in the state House or state Senate.
Neal said he is not sure what it means to him personally, but said it is one step forward for the General Assembly. He will help lead a Democratic Caucus that has seen its membership dwindle in recent elections. Neal said he plans to advocate for issues important to Democrats, including raising the minimum wage.
Republican Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he respects Neal and looks forward to working with him.
With no fanfare, Rand Paul announced Tuesday he’s running for a second term in the U.S. Senate in 2016.
The Bowling Green Republican made no public announcement, but in a phone interview, he said he had some unfinished business in the Senate.
"I'm excited that Republicans taking over the Senate gives us a chance to do some of the things I campaigned on and that includes trying to address the massive debt that confronts our nation," Paul stated.
Senator Paul is widely expected to seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016, as well. An announcement is planned for March or April.
Senior adviser Doug Stafford said the low profile Senate announcement doesn’t mean Paul is more serious about a presidential run.
"We felt the senator's record and what he wants to accomplish speak for itself," commented Stafford. "Here's hear in Washington today, doing the job the people of Kentucky sent him to do. He's happy and proud to seek re-election for that job."
Kentucky law prohibits a candidate from running for two offices simultaneously, but Paul’s advisers say they have “multiple avenues” to get around the law, including a court challenge or turning the state’s presidential primary into a caucus.
Kentucky Republican Rand Paul says he will seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2016.
Paul said in a press release Tuesday that he hopes to continue "the task of repairing and revitalizing our great nation" in the Senate.
Paul is also considering running for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. His team believes there are ways around a Kentucky law that seems to prohibit running for Senate re-election and president at the same time.
Fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, who will be Senate majority leader after the new year, said Paul was "essential in the U.S. Senate."
A three-term Republican state lawmaker says he will seek the Republican nomination for state Agriculture Commissioner.
State Rep. Ryan Quarles made the announcement in his hometown of Georgetown flanked by two John Deere tractors and surrounded by bales of hay. Quarles, who was re-elected to a third term in the state House last month, was endorsed by current Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who is not running for re-election in 2015 because he is running for governor.
Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott is considering a run for governor in 2015.
Scott told the Lexington Herald-Leader he will make his decision by early January. If he does decide to run, Scott said he would immediately resign his seat on the state's highest court that he has held since 2004.
The deadline to file for governor is Jan. 27.
Two other Republicans have already declared their candidacy. Former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner announced his candidacy in March and has already aired TV commercials. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer declared his candidacy in September. Former U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin is another potential candidate.
Attorney General Jack Conway and former congressional candidate Geoff Young are both seeking the Democratic nomination.
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett does not plan to run for governor in 2018.
Hargett was among several Republicans included in early speculation after the Nov. 4 election about potential candidates to succeed Gov. Bill Haslam, who can't run for a third consecutive term.
Hargett recently issued a statement saying he's focusing on his current job as secretary of state.
The former House Republican leader from Bartlett raised some eyebrows before the general election when his office issued new "I Voted" stickers emblazoned with Hargett's name and looking a lot like campaign bumper stickers.
Leaders of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System are again asking state lawmakers to shore up the underfunded pension plan when the legislature convenes in January. KTRS has just 51 percent of the money it’s expected to need for future payouts.
"It's not a risk, it's an absolute certainty," cautioned KTRS General Counsel Beau Barnes. "If we don't start getting some additional funding for the pension fund, the funding level is going to start declining and it's going to get much harder to fix."
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports state lawmakers are being asked to consider issuing 30-year bonds worth $1.9 billion and $3.3 billion.
Lawmakers rejected a similar proposal from KTRS in the last legislative session, arguing the state couldn’t afford the additional debt service.
Kentucky’s Second District Congressman is predicting a major “re-write” of the Affordable Care Act next year.
Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie would have an up-close view of such an effort, as he was named vice-chair of a key House Health Subcommittee Wednesday.
Guthrie says the complicated structure of the federal health law makes it difficult to change certain aspects of the A.C.A without creating unintended consequences elsewhere.
“You hear a lot of people say, ‘let’s keep what we like and fix what we don’t like.’ And there are things that we need as part of our system. We need to make sure that people have health care if they’re sick, and pre-existing conditions don’t push them out of the marketplace.”
But the Bowling Green Republican said adding so many additional Americans to the healthcare system made it impossible for President Obama to keep his pledge that everyone could keep the doctor and health plan that they wanted.
The Congressman also expressed concern about states—like Kentucky—that expanded their Medicaid rolls as part of Obamacare.