View Full Version : Bunning drama continues to haunt GOP

05-10-2009, 05:47 PM

Bunning drama continues to haunt GOP
by Aaron Blake

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) continues to send strong signals that he is uninterested in retiring, adding to the Republican Party’s headache in Kentucky.

The latest installment features Bunning saying unequivocally at a Lincoln Day Dinner in his home state this weekend that he will run for a third term in the Senate.

But that message came after Bunning recently gave Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) the go-ahead to form an exploratory committee, even though Grayson has indicated he will not run if Bunning does.

“The battle is going to be long, but I am prepared to fight for my values,” Bunning said, according to local reports. “I hope you’re going to be with me.”

Present at the dinner was Kentucky’s other senator, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has clashed with Bunning over his reelection plans. Last week, on what has turned out to be an eventful weekly conference call, Bunning eviscerated McConnell’s performance as the Senate GOP’s leader.

"Do you realize that under our dynamic leadership of our leader, we have gone from 55 and probably to 40 (seats) in two election cycles," Bunning said. "And if the tea leaves that I read are correct, we will wind up with about 36 after this election cycle.”

Bunning’s seat is a strong candidate to be one of those projected losses. Polling indicates that he is an electoral liability for the Republicans, who would likely be favored to win the race with a stronger GOP candidate like Grayson.

Despite Bunning’s public assurances that he will run again, McConnell and top Republican like National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) have continued to openly question whether he will follow through.

Bunning has fed that talk somewhat by saying in the same conference call that he will rethink the race if he can’t raise enough money.

Raising funds has been a huge struggle for the senator, who has accused party leaders of cutting off funding in hopes that he will retire.

“I'm not going to walk into 2010 with less than $1 million when I know it's going to cost $7 million minimally, probably $10 (million), somewhere in that area, to run against the winner of the Democratic primary,” Bunning said.

While the Bunning drama unfolds, two well-known Democrats are already running -- Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway – and other GOP candidates are beginning to take steps toward running.

Apart from Grayson, former Ambassador to Latvia Cathy Bailey has also made her interest public, as have state Senate President David Williams and Dr. Rand Paul, the son of former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Most of the GOPers weighing the race have been deferential to Bunning, and their public deliberations about the race suggest they aren’t convinced he will run for reelection either.

For his part, McConnell continued to cast doubt on Bunning’s candidacy at the dinner.

"If you're talking about the 2010 Senate race, I think we'll just have to wait and see how it unfolds," McConnell said, according to the Associated Press. "It's not at all clear yet what's going to happen next year."

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05-10-2009, 06:07 PM

He Who Pawns
05-10-2009, 07:26 PM
This is all background noise and static. Don't worry about it. Bunning is history.

These are the last gasps of his political career.

05-10-2009, 09:16 PM
HWP is correct. Bunning has repeatedly said that intent to run rests solely on his fund raising. If he doesn't reach his goal, he won't run.

protip: he won't reach his goal

Matt Collins
05-12-2009, 01:24 PM
This is all background noise and static. Don't worry about it. Bunning is history.

These are the last gasps of his political career.I am tending to agree with you.