January 22, 2009
Normally, I would pass a story like this off as another attempt by the MSM to build a meme for defeating a Republican. Not this time, though. It's true. Jim Bunning needs to announce his retirement after this term:
While Bunning has shown no sign that he’s ready to retire, there’s little evidence he’s prepared for the tough, expensive campaign that looms ahead.Bunning barely squeaked through in his 2004 re-election campaign against then state senator (and current lieutenant governor) Daniel Mongiardo. Remember? That was the election where Bunning stated that Mongiardo looking like one of Saddam Hussein's sons, among other things. Embarrassing.
Bunning will need to raise millions to mount a serious defense of his seat, but he is already well behind pace with only $175,000 in his campaign account through September, the latest a report was available. Worse, he isn’t expected to hold his first fundraiser until April.
His retirement would clear the way for some new blood in the Republican political establishment in Kentucky:
Still, there are signs that Bunning could face a serious primary challenge from Kentucky’s 36-year-old secretary of state, Trey Grayson.Trey Grayson won statewide election as a Republican in 2007 at the same time GOP Gov. Ernie Fletcher lost re-election by 20 points. GOP Rep. Geoff Davis from Kentucky's 4th District (where I grew up) is also a potential challenger, but since I didn't get hired in his DC office after two interviews, I'm going to be spiteful and support Grayson instead.
Grayson has already heard from leading GOP fundraisers and supporters urging him to run, said spokesman Les Fugate, adding that Grayson wouldn’t rule out a primary challenge against Bunning.
“I don’t think he will ever close the door on any opportunity, and he’s not considering it right now, but you never say never,” said Fugate.
If Bunning decides he's in this for himself, he's likely to face a strong, strong challenge from Attorney General Jack Conway. And Conway will win.
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