Sen. McConnell Skirts Bunning Endorsement

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell still won't say
if he will endorse his fellow Republican senator from Kentucky.
"Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace brought up the 2010 race,
in which 77-year-old U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning is seeking a third term,
but has gotten a chilly reception from top Republicans and is
struggling with fundraising.
McConnell, who has skirted the question several times in past
weeks at state events, would only respond that the contest is still
Bunning did not respond to a phone message Sunday seeking
He has been sharply critical of McConnell, blaming him for
losing Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democrats and costing
the party Senate seats in 2008. He has also blamed GOP leaders for
trying to thwart his fundraising in an effort to force him to
"Well, what's happening in Kentucky, obviously, is the race has
not yet formed," McConnell told Wallace on Sunday. "Senator
Bunning has encouraged someone to file an exploratory committee.
There are now two exploratory committees. And there's a Democratic
primary on the other side. I think it's safe to say the Kentucky
Senate race is unfolding."
When Wallace responded that he "didn't hear an endorsement
there," McConnell said: "Well, it's - it's just not clear exactly
who the players are going to be in Kentucky."
"So you're not endorsing him," Wallace tried again.
"It's not clear who the players are going to be yet,"
McConnell replied.
Bunning's two possible GOP rivals are Kentucky Secretary of
State Trey Grayson and Bowling Green eye surgeon Rand Paul, son of
U.S. Rep. and former presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas.
Both have formed exploratory committees, which allow candidates
to raise and spend money. Grayson, who has said he won't run unless
Bunning decides to abandon his re-election bid, was given the green
light by Bunning himself.
Paul on Friday announced the formation of his committee,
praising Bunning for his conservative votes on the bank bailout and
saying he will not challenge him if he stays in the race.
Paul said Sunday he feels sympathy for Bunning, who he feels is
getting "some mistreatment" by GOP leaders who are publicly
trying to push him out.
"But I think that Bunning has brought some of this on
himself," Paul said. "It still makes no sense to me that he
encouraged someone else to form an exploratory committee."
Grayson's campaign did not return a telephone call seeking
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, who lost to
Bunning in 2004 by a narrow margin, and Attorney General Jack
Conway, have announced their interest in the seat.
"The player on the Democratic side is going to be Lt. Gov.
Daniel Mongiardo," said Kim Geveden, an adviser to the Mongiardo
campaign. "Sen. McConnell may not know who is going to be the
player on the Republican side. Right now, they just seem to be on a
circular firing squad and we'll just wait to see who comes out of
Mark Riddle, an adviser to the Conway campaign, did not
immediately return a telephone message.
Bunning, a Hall of Fame pitcher who was the first to record 100
wins and 1,000 strikeouts in both the American and National
Leagues, said during his weekly news conference last week he was
encouraged by the response he got at a recent Kentucky Republican
gathering and said he has a series of campaign fundraisers
But he raised only $262,980 in the first quarter and has said he
will need about $7 million to go up against a Democratic
He has also issued two public apologies, including one for
remarks that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could
soon die of pancreatic cancer. Bunning also issued an apology to
his Christian evangelical base a day after he responded to a
reporter's question by using an expletive.

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

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by woo Location: pikeville on May 22, 2009 at 05:12 PM
    Can't even get along with their own party. no wonder this country is in such a mess.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2009 at 08:41 AM
    Rand is in the race. YAY For the consitution
  • by Chris Location: Avon on May 18, 2009 at 08:36 AM
    I have voted for Jim the entire time he has served and I believe he has done a tremendous job and I thank him for his service. I will now not vote for anyone over 60 or an incumbent. Time for some changes in Local,State & Federal Government.
  • by TruthisTreason Location: Bowling Green on May 18, 2009 at 06:26 AM
    Dr. Rand Paul seems to be the only one out there willing to take his message to the people, and not just party hacks.
  • by Karen on May 18, 2009 at 05:03 AM
    Ky is so underrepresented in the U.S. senate and it's a shame, we need a complete overall in KY.
  • by Halyn Location: Somerset on May 18, 2009 at 04:57 AM
    When a fellow GOP Senator you serve with representing Kentucky doesn't endorse your candidacy, that just proves your campaign has problems.
  • by Anonymous on May 18, 2009 at 04:44 AM
    Mitch knows, Let's look at this as a wake up call. Time for Bunning to go. He has made an A** of himself too many times with comments that were hurtful. Bye Jim, not getting my vote.
  • by Anonymous on May 17, 2009 at 08:38 PM
    How dramatic, Bunning would easily win re-election - Rand Paul's recent entrance not withstanding. McConnell almost lost his seat last year. He needs to stop with the neocon talking points and grow a brain. We miss you Mitch


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