KY-Sen: Bunning Lashes Out At McConnell
by Todd Beeton, Tue May 05, 2009 at 11:10:34 AM EDT
This Kentucky Senate race is getting more and more amusing every day. It appeared last week that Bunning had given Trey Grayson his blessing to get into the Republican primary, perhaps a sign that he intended to step aside. Now it's looking more and more as though Grayson is the pawn Mitch McConnell is using to nudge Bunning out. Well, if Bunning is going anywhere he's not going quietly.
Sen. Jim Bunning today renewed his attacks on his fellow Kentucky Republican, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of selfishness and being responsible for lost GOP seats in the Senate.
...He said: "Do you realize that under our dynamic leadership of our leader, we have gone from 55 and probably to 40 (Senate seats) in two election cycles, and if the tea leaves that I read are correct, we will wind up with about 36 after this election cycle.
Nice. As Mark Nickolas writes, you gotta wonder if Bunning includes himself in those 4 more losses he envisions for the GOP next year.
Of course, the way to guarantee Bunning's defeat would be for him to stay in the race and on that front, Bunning is actually sending some mixed signals.
From The AP, we get this:
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning says he's still in the race for re-election next year despite having encouraged Secretary of State Trey Grayson to form an exploratory committee to consider a run.
Yet Bunning's local NPR station is reporting:
Bunning also said the only way he'd ever consider abandoning the race was if he failed to meet his fundraising goals later this year.
Nickolas provides some context:
Bunning's comment in the NPR story about only considering "abandoning the race" if he failed to meet his fundraising goals is the most lucid comment made this year by someone who's not considered very lucid to begin with. Keep in mind that Bunning's publicly-stated first quarter fundraising goal was $2 million but he raised just $262,000, and that was before Grayson entered the race. Bunning's second quarter is likely to be equally dismal for him, while Grayson will probably report $1 million to $2 million in contrast since McConnell must do everything he can (as does NRSC Chairman John Cornyn) to show that Grayson has the heft to knock-off Bunning and hold on to this seat, which remains easily the most vulnerable in this cycle if Bunning remains their nominee.
Unfortunately, gotta agree with Nickolas here, it's hard to see Bunning staying in to the end. Grayson's gonna be much harder to defeat.