Two-thirds of registered voters in Kentucky oppose legislation that would ease a potential headache for Republican Sen. Rand Paul should he decide to seek reelection to his current seat while simultaneously mounting a White House bid, a poll out Tuesday found.
Earlier this year the Bluegrass State's senate majority leader sought to clarify an ambiguous law that Paul argued is unconstitutional if it indeed bars running for reelection to the Senate and for president concurrently. The purpose of his proposed legislation, Republican Sen. Damon Thayor said at the time, "will be to make clear that Rand Paul or anything in a smiliar situation in Kentucky can run for both offices in the same year."
Democrats running the state House ultimately blocked the bill, which is a move that seems largely popular among Kentucky voters: Only 15 percent said they believe Paul should be able to campaign for both seats, and a third say the freshman lawmaker shouldn't run for anything.
But among those who back Paul as a voice in the political arena, a slim margin - 24 to 22 percent - favors him in the Senate chamber then in the Oval Office. Some voters who spoke to the pollster, like 67-year-old Harvey Tincher, made the case that Paul's libertarian-guided foreign policy would preclude his qualifications for president.
"He's more of an isolationist, and we don't live in an isolated world," he said. Tincher added that "the fear of losing" shouldn't establish grounds for a candidate to seek multiple offices: "You've got to run for one or run for the other," he said. "If you're going to do it, go all the way."
Of course there are those in the minority who back Paul's potential double candidacy, including Mary Dean, a Kentucky Democrat.
"I do think he's a good senator and I think he'd make an excellent president, if they would change the law to allow that in the state of Kentucky," she said. "I think he's a personable candidate -- you can talk to him and he will answer you."
Paul, who's made no secret of his presidential ambitions, isn't the first potential White House candidate to seek two offices concurrently. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, then-Sen. Joe Biden and former Sen. Joe Lieberman all sought reelection while running for vice president.