KY-Sen: Mongiardo In; Bunning, Too -- For Now

A big recruiting coup for Senate Democrats:

Days after U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning filed a lackluster campaign finance report, a prominent Kentucky Democrat announced that he will run for the two-term Republican's seat.

"The people of Kentucky deserve a senator that has the vision, energy and record to help improve our state and country," Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo said Monday in a written statement announcing his candidacy for the 2010 Democratic primary.


Mongiardo said he will file the necessary paperwork later this week, setting up a possible rematch with Bunning, a 77-year-old baseball Hall of Famer. Bunning eked out a win in 2004 when Mongiardo, then a little-known state senator, came within about 23,000 votes of unseating him. Now with the improved name recognition, Mongiardo said he would be an even more formidable candidate.

Bunning, expecting to be targeted by both the state and national Democratic parties, has said he would need to raise about $10 million to win re-election to a third term. Bunning filed a campaign finance report last week that listed only $27,357 in financial contributions between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. The report, filed with the Federal Election Commission in Washington on Wednesday, showed Bunning had $150,000 on hand.

According to The Fix, at least a couple other Democrats are also looking at the race, state Attorney General Jack Conway and state Auditor Crit Luallen -- though with Dan Mongiardo already having nearly knocked off Jim Bunning despite being unknown and underfunded suggests that he would be the strongest potential Democratic candidate this side of Congressman Ben Chandler. The only thing better than the strong Democratic bench? The fact that Bunning is reiterating that he will run.

Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning doesn't seem to mind that on Monday he got a Democratic opponent in his 2010 race for re-election -- in fact, as of Monday evening he wasn't aware that Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo had entered the contest.

Told by a Politico reporter that as of today he had competition for his seat, Bunning replied: "I did? Who would that be?" Told of Mongiardo, Bunning exclaimed, "Really! I've been very busy."

Bunning, meanwhile, sought to clear up speculation that he was pondering retirement. "How many times do I have to say [I'll be running]?"

The Democrats' shot at winning this Senate seat would almost undoubtedly be better if Bunning were the GOP nominee than were he to retire. Indeed, with Bunning in the race, the contest probably even leans a bit towards the Democrats. That said, it isn't the case that Bunning dropping out will necessarily save this seat for the Republicans, as a strong, well-known and popular Democrat like Mongiardo places this race in or close to the toss-up category. In other words, regardless of whether or not Bunning seeks a third term in the Senate, this should be one of the upper tier races of 2010.

Tags: Dan Mongiardo, Kentucky, KY-Sen, Senate 2010 (all tags)



I remember donating to him

near the end of the race in 2004.  I'll definitely be there again.  

by John DE 2009-01-26 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: KY-Sen: Mongiardo In; Bunning, Too -- For Now

Isn't it funny how being solidly in power and having done very well the past two elections makes it easier to recruit top-tier candidates?

by fbihop 2009-01-26 06:03PM | 0 recs
How Conservative Is He?

I assume he's socially conservative, but is he at least decent on economic issues?  He'll be better than Bunning for sure, so I'll support him regardless, but I don't know much about the guy at this point.  

Is Conway more libera?  

by HSTruman 2009-01-26 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: KY-Sen: Mongiardo In; Bunning, Too -- For Now

I saw him on CNBC this morning "explaining" why he was going to vote vs Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury.

I must say it was like watching somebody pull teeth trying to interview him.  He t-a-l-k-e-d l-i-k-e t-h-i-s.  And made little sense.  He just kept repeating himself.

To make matters worse, CNBC has on that Rep Ryan character who is a Republican hard-liner (I think he was the first guy who brought down the TARP plan or whatever the first stimulus was back in October -- I mean, he shouted down Boehner, staged a coup and became a WHIP) and I was thinking to myself Bunning is a maroon and Ryan is a moron, hmmm most of the same letters.

I also wondered what the heck CNBC had BOTH of them on at the same time.  It was hard to listen to them BOTH try to explain what they thinking about at the same time.  It gave me a headache.

by evavenm 2009-01-26 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: KY-Sen: Mongiardo In; Bunning, Too -- For Now

Wasn't Chandler supposed to be the top-tier candidate in Kentucky.

He took a pass on running against Mitch McConnell b/c he wanted the easier race against Bunning.

It would be nice to see Chandler kept out of the game by a more liberal candidate in the Dem primary.

by Carl Nyberg 2009-01-27 07:26AM | 0 recs


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