Paul And Rubio Face 2016 Dilemma
Rand Paul and Marco Rubio both share a similar political dilemma as they consider a run for the White House in 2016:
Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are facing a big obstacle if they seek the White House in 2016 — and it’s not each other.
State laws could force the two GOP senators into a difficult choice: run for president or run for reelection to the Senate that same year. Because in their home states of Kentucky and Florida, neither Republican can be on the ballot for both offices at the same time.
It might seem like a technicality, especially so far out from 2016. But these seemingly arcane state laws could have real-world consequences for the two men — and their party’s chances of winning the White House, or taking back the Senate.
A number of states allow public officials to run for two offices at once. Joe Biden ran for reelection to the Senate in Delaware at the same time he won the vice presidency in 2008. Same for Paul Ryan in 2012, who was reelected to the House from Wisconsin even as he went down in defeat as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Paul’s dilemma is trickier: Kentucky’s election laws are more restrictive than those in Florida. Under current law, the tea party freshman would need to file for one office by late January 2016. He could try some maneuvering to circumvent the restriction, though that could open him up to litigation or political blowback.
Rubio has more breathing room: He could wait to see whether he’s crowned the party’s nominee at the Republican National Convention before abandoning his Senate bid. But if he were to lose in November, he couldn’t go back to the Senate.
Paul’s decision is the trickier one, obviously, since he’ll have to make up his mind between running for President and running for re-election before the vast majority of the primaries have taken place. Indeed, if he wants to be a candidate for President he’ll likely have to make his choice well before then. Rubio, on the other hand, at least has the relative luxury of waiting until the nomination process is nearly over before having to make his decision. At that point, if he were the GOP nominee, he’d have to give up running for re-election to the Senate, but I’m sure that’s a price he’d be willing to pay under the circumstances. These laws are likely to have an impact on how each candidate approaches the 2016 election so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.