Kentucky: Chandler Fans Bunning Senate Race Speculation

Posted March 16, 2009 at 6:31pm

In a visit to Frankfort over the weekend, Rep. Ben Chandler (D) left open the possibility of challenging Sen. Jim Bunning, who is considered by many to be the most vulnerable Republican Senator up for re-election in 2010.

“I have to at least think about it,— Chandler told the Associated Press.

Chandler, a four-term Congressman who has had little problem winning re-election in a conservative Central Kentucky district, is considered by many insiders as the party’s strongest potential candidate. He was sought after in the previous cycle to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) but passed on the opportunity.

If Chandler were to make a Senate run, it will be interesting to see if Democrats can give him a clear path to the nomination since Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D) has already launched a campaign against Bunning. State Attorney General Jack Conway is also mentioned as a potential Democratic Senate candidate.

On Monday, the GOP’s House campaign arm, which would love to target Chandler or his open seat, attacked him for being coy about his campaign plans.

“Voters in Central Kentucky deserve a Representative who is addressing their immediate needs in a time of economic crisis, not a politician who is busy flirting with a potential run for higher office,— National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Paul Lindsay said.