Bunning to Retire in 2010
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) announced Monday he will not run for a third term in 2010, eliminating a political headache for Senate Republicans and bringing closure to a months-long GOP family drama accentuated by public lashings from the irascible Senator directed at the media and his colleagues.
“Over the past year, some of the leaders of the Republican Party in the Senate have done everything in their power to dry up my fundraising,— Bunning said in a statement announcing his decision. “The simple fact is that I have not raised the funds necessary to run an effective campaign for the U.S. Senate. For this reason, I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010.—
Bunning’s words were a not-so-veiled jab at Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who never publicly endorsed Bunning and who Bunning charged was among those sabotaging his fundraising efforts.
With Bunning out of the race, McConnell will likely throw his support behind Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson as the party’s standard-bearer. Grayson has already begun fundraising for the Senate race even though he maintained he would not challenge Bunning in a primary.
The usually reserved McConnell publicly stayed mum on the race, but he sent clear signals that he would prefer that Bunning step aside so the party could nominate someone it perceives to be a stronger general election candidate.
“For Republicans, this is welcome news,— a GOP aide said of Bunning’s retirement announcement. “With some other Republican on the ballot, we’ve got a 50-50 shot, or even better. I’d go from 0 to 50-50 any day.—