Kentucky GOP Paves Road Toward Rand Paul Presidential Run

Yesterday, the Kentucky Republican Party endorsed a change to their primary rules which would permit Rand Paul to concurrently run for the US Senate and the Presidency. The state’s Republican central committee will make a final decision on the matter on August 22. Paul is anticipated to announce his run for the Presidency next month.

Kentucky state law forbids candidates from appearing twice on a single ballot. Therefore, in a regular primary, Paul would not be permitted to be a choice for both offices he is expected to seek. By opting instead for a caucus (where candidates are not “listed” on a ballot, but are instead “nominated” by individual community members), the Bluegrass State will not only grant this opportunity to Paul; it will also move its primary election to earlier in the calendar year, which could possibly allow for Kentucky’s Republican voters to have more sway over who is the party’s nominee.

If Paul does indeed win the 2016 Republican nomination, he will nonetheless likely have to abdicate his Senate seat. However, that possibility is a long way down the road, and can be dealt with accordingly should that situation arise. In recent years, Paul Ryan in 2012, Joe Biden in 2008, Joe Lieberman in 2000 and Lloyd Bentsen in 1988 have all appeared on Presidential tickets (all as Vice Presidential nominees) while simultaneously running to retain their seats in Congress. All 4 won re-election, but only Biden was successful in both of his elections.

Rand Paul has picked up plenty of steam in his presidential ambitions since Mitt Romney‘s loss in the 2012 Presidential Election. Beginning with his 13-hour filibuster in 2013, Paul has become one of the most recognizable leaders of the Republican party, while consistently working to widen the party’s base demographics and introduce new issues to the fold. In the last 2+ years, Paul has been twice named to the Time 100 list of most influential people, and was also anointed by the publication in 2014 as “The Most Interesting Man in Politics.” He has received praise from everywhere on the political spectrum from Chris Matthews and Bill Maher to Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell.

Last week, Paul won his third consecutive CPAC Straw Poll, thereby accomplishing a feat only replicated by President Ronald Reagan (1976, 1980, 1984), conservative hero and 1996 VP Nominee Jack Kemp (1986, 1987, 1993) and 2012 Nominee Mitt Romney (2007-09, 2012). Perhaps more impressive, the 2nd place finisher in each of Paul’s 3 victories has been different; challengers come and go, but Paul remains a constant favorite at the conservative gathering.

Rand Paul presents a unique opportunity for the Republican Party to reinvent itself. It has been many years since the electoral map has undergone a “critical realignment” which has scrambled previously solidified voting blocs. Should Paul successfully clinch the Republican nomination, he would bring to the table a brand of conservatism that has not been seen in over 50 years. The Party has ridden the wave of the Reagan Revolution for nearly 4 decades, but it certainly appears that it is a time for a change. Paul is the perfect vehicle to enact both strategic and practical changes on a national scale.

Because of his stances on criminal justice, civil liberties and foreign policy, Rand Paul can bring glory back to a party that has won the popular vote only once since 1992. The next year will be a difficult path for the first-term Senator, as he battles political dynasties and Washington insiders, but the road has become clearer with the endorsement of a caucus by the Kentucky Republicans. Paul is expected to do well in both Iowa and New Hampshire (both states where his father earned over 21% of the vote).

If he can piece together successful campaigns in those two early states, and complete a likely victory in his home state of Kentucky, the Republican nomination will be within Rand Paul’s grasp.

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