Senate Republican Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer of Georgetown is offering up his suggestions for Democrat Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and her future in politics, and he’s weighing in on what the Kentucky GOP should do to allow one of their own to run for the highest office in the country.
Nearly one month removed from the Election the focus is shifting towards 2015 races for governor and constitutional officers as well as the 2016 presidential primary as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul contemplates a bid for the White House.
In the 2014 60-day session Thayer filed legislation to amend statute and allow Paul to run for U.S. Senate and president at the same time.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo a Democrat from Pikeville balked at the idea and the House never heard testimony on the bill. After the Election and with the House still under Democratic control the likelihood that the bill could make it through both chambers and the governor’s office unscathed is unlikely, but Thayer is keeping his options open on whether or not he will attempt the legislation again in February.
“I haven’t made a decision on that, and I’d like to talk to Sen. Paul on that before we move forward,” Thayer said. “Obviously I was proud to sponsor that bill last year that was modeled after the Wisconsin legislation that they passed which allowed Congressman Paul Ryan to run for vice-president and Congress at the same time.”
“Whether it’s a Democrat or Republican we should not disallow the voters of Kentucky the opportunity to vote for one of their own for president or vice-president, it just so happens that, right now, it’s Rand Paul considering a run for president — but it could be a Democrat some day.”
One avenue state Republicans could take to allow Paul to run for two offices would be to change the way the Republican Party selects a presidential nominee in the primary.
Politico first reported that the RPK was considering turning Kentucky’s presidential primary into a caucus, but that offers some worry to Thayer for GOP voters.
“I know that’s a possibility, but I worry about then saying to all the Republican primary voters that they don’t get to have a voice in who our nominee for president is,” Thayer said. “So if Sen. Paul wants to run for president I’m all in for him and I think Kentucky voters ought to have that opportunity, but I weigh that also against you know Republican primary voters not getting that voice.”
The move to a caucus would be a side-step around state statute which says that no candidate’s name can appear on a ballot twice.
While the state Republicans plot a course for Paul and 2016 Kentucky will elect a new governor in 2015. There’s already a contentious GOP primary brewing between Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Louisville businessman Hal Heiner, a former Louisville mayoral candidate.
Thayer is on record as being in favor of supporting Comer and his running mate Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, and he said he hopes the GOP can host a civil primary contest.
“Unless provoked otherwise I have no plans to say anything negative about anyone else who is currently in — or who may get in the primary for governor,” Thayer said.
Offering his unsolicited advice to Grimes, who was romped by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in the General Election, Thayer said Grimes ought to consider running for attorney general against Gov. Steve Beshear’s son Andy Beshear.
“She hasn’t asked for my advice, but I think she ought to consider running in the primary for attorney general. I’d like to sell tickets to that — a good ole Beshear, Lundergan match up — settle this thing once and for all,” Thayer said. “I think that would be a good choice for Democrat to have to make in the May primary.”