McConnell Refuses to Endorse Bunning for Re-Election

Posted May 17, 2009 at 9:41am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday declined to endorse his home state colleague Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) for re-election, when asked specifically to do so on “Fox News Sunday.—

“What’s happening in Kentucky, obviously, is the race is not yet formed,— said McConnell, noting Bunning gave his blessing to one GOP candidate to start an exploratory committee for Senate. “It’s just not clear who the players are going to be yet.—

The 77-year-old Bunning has lashed out at McConnell — as well as National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) — for not supporting his desire to run for re-election in 2010. Many Republican leaders privately believe that the GOP will have a better chance of holding the seat next year if Bunning is not the nominee.

Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) recently created an exploratory committee for a possible Senate bid, and other Republicans are poised to jump in the race if Bunning does not run.

Democrats have two formidable candidates seeking the Senate seat, Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, who lost narrowly to Bunning in 2004, and state Attorney General Jack Conway.