Bunning said, “Kentuckians need a strong, principled conservative to stand up to the liberals and establishment politicians that run Washington.”
Bunning’s endorsement comes as a shock to some in the GOP. Many thought the retiring Senator would sit on the sidelines until after the May Primary. Paul’s chief rival, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, has repeatedly referred to Bunning as his political mentor. Bunning is also a family friend of the Grayson family.
The endorsement by Bunning, a Kentucky sports icon enshrined in the National League Baseball Hall of Fame, is a major boost for Paul who is already leading in the GOP race in the latest public opinion polls.
Bunning's backing is key in heavily Republican northern
Kentucky, an area Grayson had counted on winning.
Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson objected to Bunning's endorsement, saying Paul has "strange views" that do not match those of most Kentuckians.
"We've always respected Senator Bunning's fiscally conservative views, but even as a major league pitcher, he'd occasionally misfire," Hodson said. "He is flat-out wrong about Rand Paul."
Here is Senator Bunning’s full statement.
Bunning Endorses Dr. Rand Paul for United States Senate
Calls Paul the Only True Conservative in the Race
U.S. Senator Jim Bunning today issued the following statement endorsing Dr. Rand Paul in the Kentucky Republican primary race for the United States Senate.
“In the United States Senate, Kentuckians need a strong, principled conservative to stand up to the liberals and establishment politicians that run Washington. Kentucky needs a conservative who will say no to bailouts, stop the government takeover of our economy, end wasteful spending, and bring down our national debt. And Kentucky’s families need a conservative who believes in traditional values and the rights of the unborn. In 2010, there is only one such conservative running for the United States Senate -- Dr. Rand Paul.
“Dr. Paul will be his own man in Washington, not beholden to the special interests and beltway insiders who come looking for handouts on a daily basis. Instead, Dr. Paul will be a strong voice and advocate for the people and values of Kentucky. Dr. Paul is a man of his word who can be trusted to do what is right for Kentucky and the nation.
“I know what it takes to stand up for the conservative principles that are needed to make America a better place for our children and grandchildren. Dr. Paul shares those same core values and has the courage and conviction necessary to make sure the voices of Kentucky’s workers, families, retirees, and children are heard in Washington. That is why I am supporting Dr. Paul to be our next United States Senator from Kentucky.”
I mentioned the latest opinion polls. I’ve been out of the office for a few days but I will post those results later tonight.
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