Northern Kentucky is the firewall in Republican Sen. Jim Bunning’s plan to win a third term in the Senate next year. Bunning vowed on Saturday night to wage “a long battle and a hard battle— to keep his seat, according to a report on the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Web site.
At a Fourth District Lincoln/Reagan Day Dinner in Boone County, Bunning said, “I need your support to offset Lexington, Louisville and some other people who don’t think like we do in Northern Kentucky.—
Bunning was frequently interrupted by applause and two standing ovations, according to the report.
“I hope I can count on your support,— Bunning said. “This will be a long battle and a hard battle. Because you know what? They don’t like somebody who won’t say yes’ every time they want it.—
Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) who holds Bunning’s former House seat, offered strong support for the Senator and urged the crowd to break out their checkbooks.
“If you’ve heard this myth going around about, Don’t give to him because we’re not so sure,’ I’m going to tell you something,— Davis said. “Double-down in your pockets and give to him because this Congressman is going to be raising one helluva lot of money to make sure he stays in the Senate if that’s what he chooses to do.—
Davis added, “I’m going to stand for him … regardless who his opponents may be.—
Bunning, 77, faces a potential primary challenge next year, and if he survives that, a well-funded Democratic opponent in November 2010.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been less than enthusiastic about his home-state colleague’s prospects.
Kentucky Senate President David Williams has suggested he may challenge Bunning in the GOP primary. Trey Grayson, the Republican secretary of State, has said he will run if Bunning doesn’t.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, who narrowly lost to Bunning in 2004, is already in the race, and on Friday, Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler told reporters in Kentucky’s capital of Frankfort that he is also considering the race.
Attorney General Jack Conway and state Auditor Crit Luallen have also been mentioned as potential candidates.