Once hailed in the press as the Democratic candidate in 2014’s “marquee race,” which could see the Republican Senate minority leader unceremoniously defenestrated by Kentucky’s voters. Grimes’ loss to Mitch McConnell was among the first heartbreak of election night for liberal Democrats when her race was among the earliest to be called for the Republican candidate. When all the votes were counted, Grimes lost by just over 15 points. It wasn’t even close.
If you missed Kentucky’s secretary of state, she was not gone for long. Having failed in her mission to oust McConnell, the former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is taking aim at another Republican federal officeholder in the Bluegrass State: Rand Paul.
In an appearance on a local radio station, Grimes made it clear that election law in her state precludes Paul from running for both his Senate seat and for the presidency in 2016. Paul has already declared that he will run for reelection to the U.S. Senate, but he also left the door to a presidential bid open and is pursuing changes to his state’s election law behind the scenes.
It’s looking grim for Paul, however, as Kentucky Democrats are unlikely to help him in his quest to run for both the Senate and the White House.
“The simplest solution, politically, was taken off the table in November, when Republicans failed to take control of the lower chamber of the Kentucky statehouse,” The National Journal reported in early December. “Paul’s allies in the GOP-controlled state Senate had already pushed through legislation to change the law to let him run for two offices, but the measure languished in the Democratic-held House. Paul had invested time and money in the GOP takeover efforts, but they fell short.”
If Paul had any illusions about making an end run around the law, Grimes told a local radio station she planned to “look to the court” to prevent Paul from running for both the Senate and the White House simultaneously.
“I will not be bullied,” Grimes said. “I think hopefully the people of Kentucky understand that over the course of this past year, and I will not hesitate to seek help and assistance in the opinion of a court.”
And if Paul decides only to run for reelection to the Senate in 2016, you don’t have to engage in much speculation in order to guess who his likely Democratic challenger will be. Grimes may have slightly better luck on the ballot in a presidential year, but Kentucky remains a red state and that is not going to change just because a national Democratic candidate is at the top of the ticket. Moreover, Rand Paul remains far more popular with his state’s voters than did McConnell.
For Grimes, a second Senate bid is probably going to be as trying as the first. But anything could happen. Maybe she’ll give the Aqua Buddha line another shot.