Calling U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign kick off in Louisville “spectacular” and “very presidential with all the bells and whistles” state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said Paul is on the right path for the nomination.
Thayer, the majority floor leader in the state Senate, was one of the 1,500 supporters and gathered media to witness Paul’s long coming entrance into the race for president.
“I think he has a chance,” Thayer said. “If you objectively look at 2016 there are probably six to eight people who have a legitimate chance in an open seat presidential race to be the next president of the United States. I think any objective list would have to include Rand Paul.”
In 2014 Thayer introduced legislation in the Senate which would rewrite a state statute and allow Paul to run for president and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat in the same year. The bill eventually died in the state House.
At the end of 2014 Thayer told Pure Politics he had concerns about the state Republican Party moving to an early presidential caucus system, but now Thayer says he no longer has a problem with the move and the “issue is well on its way of being solved.”
“I believe that the law that says a candidate can’t run for two offices at the same time only applies to state offices,” Thayer said.
At concern is how the party moves forward as Paul progresses in his bid for the White House.
Democrats have not controlled a U.S. Senate seat since Wendell Ford, who retired in 1999, and Thayer says the GOP will do everything they can to ensure Democrats do not take the seat in 2016.
“No matter what happens we’re going to hold that Senate seat, and there are multiple options for going forward based on how Rand does in the primaries,” he said. “I think we’re going to know by February or March of next year who the Republican nominee for president is.”
Thayer said the move to an early GOP presidential primary caucus in early to mid-March of 2016 for Paul is still moving forward giving the Bowling Green Republican a better shot a cinching the GOP presidential nomination — and helping to bolster Kentucky as a national player in presidential primaries.
“Many of us, and I’m a former Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Kentucky, many of us have been concerned in the last several cycles that Kentucky does not play a major role in the nominating of our candidates for president — I think Rand will now provide an impetus to change that.”