Grayson raises $600,000 for possible Senate race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson
reported Monday that he has raised more than $600,000 since forming
an exploratory committee two months ago to consider a run for the
U.S. Senate.
Grayson is the second potential GOP candidate to release
second-quarter fundraising totals. The other, Bowling Green
physician Rand Paul, announced last week that he has raised more
than $100,000.
Grayson and Paul are positioning themselves to run if
second-term GOP Sen. Jim Bunning pulls out of the race.
Bunning has left open the possibility that he may withdraw if
his own fundraising doesn't improve. Bunning has said he will
submit his contributions to the Federal Election Commission by the
July 15 reporting deadline.
Grayson released snippets from his upcoming campaign finance
report, showing $602,699 raised from more than 1,150 donors. After
expenses, Grayson still has $572,103 on hand.
"That's not a shabby start," said University of Louisville
political scientist Dewey Clayton. "I would say, if anything, that
is a signal that he is a viable candidate."
In a prepared statement, Grayson said he has received an
"outpouring of support." He added, "As I traveled around the
commonwealth the last few weeks, the encouragement I received was
overwhelming and confirmed the solid base of support I am finding
for a run for U.S. Senate."
Paul spokesman Christopher Hightower said last week more than
1,200 people have contributed to Paul's exploratory committee.
Although the 2010 GOP primary is still nearly a year away,
potential Republican challengers have been eyeing Bunning's seat
for months. Bunning, a 77-year-old baseball Hall-of-Famer, has been
considered vulnerable after a close call in his last election. He
reported lackluster fundraising in his first quarter report,
collecting about $263,000.
Bunning blames GOP leaders, including Senate Minority Leader
Mitch McConnell of Louisville, for discouraging people from
contributing to his re-election campaign in an effort to force him
to retire.
Some GOP leaders have been sending not-so-subtle messages that
Bunning should retire rather than face what is expected to be a
strong Democratic challenge. Two formidable Democrats, Lt. Gov.
Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway, have entered the
Bunning narrowly fended off Mongiardo in the last election.
Mongiardo, then a little-known state senator from eastern Kentucky,
lost by about 23,000 votes.
Bunning spokesmen Mike Reynard and Jeff Marschner didn't
immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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