Bunning Lashes Out at McConnell

Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:04pm

In a conference call with Kentucky media this morning, Sen. Jim Bunning (R) lashed out at fellow Kentuckian and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) for comments he made recently in which he said he wasn’t aware of Bunning’s re-election plans.

“I had an hourlong meeting with Sen. McConnell in the first week of December in 2008, and we thoroughly discussed my candidacy for the Senate in that hour meeting in my office in Northern Kentucky — and gave him every indication that I was going to run again,” Bunning told reporters on a conference call Tuesday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. “So he either had a lapse of memory or something when speaking to the Press Club last week when he said that he didn’t know what my intentions were. He knew very well what my intentions were.”

Retirement rumors continue to dog the 77-year-old junior Senator from the Bluegrass State, and his anemic fourth-quarter 2008 fundraising performance has done little to help quell that speculation. Recent public polls have shown Bunning is less popular than McConnell, who found himself in a closer-than-anticipated race in 2008 that he eventually won by 6 points.

Some GOP insiders on Capitol Hill and in Kentucky privately believe the party would be better off without Bunning on the ballot in 2010. Those officials have indicated that Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) might be a more viable candidate than Bunning and could boost the party’s chances of holding the seat.

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (D) entered the Senate race this week, and state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) is among those also eyeing the contest.