Bunning: ‘I would have a suit’ if Republicans recruit an opponent

February 24, 2009 | | Comments 32
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Southgate

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Southgate

Sen. Jim Bunning is vowing to fight back as his feud with Republican leadership over his 2010 re-election bid spills into the national political scene.

If Republican campaign organizations tried to recruit another candidate to run in Bunning’s stead, “I would have a suit against the (National Republican Senatorial Committee) if they did that,” Bunning told reporters on Tuesday. “In their bylaws, support of the incumbents is the only reason they exist.”

The 77-year-old senator says he’s repeatedly told Republican leadership that he plans on running in 2010 for a third term.

This week, speculation about Bunning’s seat has focused on state Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, who on Monday wouldn’t rule out running for U.S. Senate. But Williams told reporters that he would be “less than candid” if he did not say “a lot of rank-and-file people” have called him about the race.

NRSC Chairman John Cornyn of Texas told The Washington Post on Monday that Williams’ meeting with organization officials last week was a “courtesy visit” and that the party “would back Bunning in a contested primary.”

“David Williams usually has the ability to make up his own mind,” Bunning said, adding the state lawmaker “owes me $30,000 and he said he’ll repay me. I was short in my FEC money and he asked me if I would help save two state senate seats… I told him if I did it I would have to have it replaced at the first of the year. So far he has not.”

A Federal Election Commission report for Bunning’s campaign committee, Citizens for Bunning, shows a $25,000 contribution to the Republican Party of Kentucky on Oct. 20, 2008. Bunning said his political action committee donated another $5,000.

Williams declined to comment on Bunning’s statement, said Lourdes Baez-Schrader, Williams’ spokeswoman.

The tension over financial and political support has simmered over the past few weeks as Bunning has faced mounting pressure from Republican leaders to reconsider his re-election bid. Bunning has complained that comments by fellow Kentuckian Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Cornyn questioning the junior senator’s re-election plans undermine his bid.

“I don’t believe anything Cornyn says… I’ve had miscommunications with John Cornyn from first week of this session,” Bunning said. “The NRSC never helped me last time and they’re probably not going to help me this time.

Bunning also drew attention this week for comments he made over the weekend about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health. Bunning apologized for those comments on Monday.

In the 2004 election cycle, Bunning eked out a narrow 1.4 percentage point victory against Democratic challenger Daniel Mongiardo, then a state senator from Eastern Kentucky and now the state’s lieutenant governor. During the 2004 campaign, Bunning said Mongiardo, an Italian-American, looked “like one of Saddam Hussein’s sons.”

Bunning later apologized for the statement, and the two may face off again in 2010. Along with Mongiardo, state Attorney General Jack Conway and state Auditor Crit Luallen have been mentioned as potential candidates on the Democratic side. U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, has not ruled out a run.

A poll taken nearly a month ago by Research 2000 for the Daily Kos blog showed Bunning would hold a slim advantage against all the potential Democratic challengers.

– Halimah Abdullah

Filed Under: Crit LuallenDaniel MongiardoDavid WilliamsFeaturedJack ConwayMitch McConnellRepublican PartyUS Senate Race

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  1. Gina says:

    A lawsuit? I think the party and the people have a right to have the candidate of their choice. We need to get rid of “the worst senator” in the country. However, I don’t think David Williams would be an improvement. Only difference is he is not senile. If the Republicans want to elect another senator they need to look for someone with some appeal to a large majority the people; neither Bunning or Williams has that. Bunning is washed up and needs to go. Williams would never, never, never get my vote.

  2. Mee Two says:

    Oh Lawdy, this thing’s gonna get uglier than Tennessee orange.

  3. wkypatriot says:

    So, a “lot” of people have called Williams about running? Just like a “lot” of people will call him with condolences after he gets his fanny stomped.

  4. rustyboater says:

    The most frightening thing about this article is the last paragraph. While the rest of the nation moves forward, is Kentucky going to continue betting on the self-defeating and backward looking ideas of the Republican party? How on earth can one of the poorest states in the nation can continue electing Republicans whose sole goal is to keep us poor and stupid? Maybe West Virginia will hold an intervention for us.

  5. Beanballer says:

    With enough thorazine and duct tape, Bunning’s handlers can still nurse him through the primary!

    But they’d better load up on both quick, because two or three more like the last couple of stories Bunning has put into recent news cycles and he’s going to be a goner.

    It’s pretty sharp, really. McConnell knows he can egg Bunning into getting made, losing control, and running his mouth, which results in national humiliation for Bunning.

    Quite an elegant legacy, Jim.

  6. Joe Biden says:

    Bunning is a blowhard doofus!

  7. Mee Two says:

    Rustyboater, yeppers, those dadgum Republicans sure done screwed up West Virginny too. That place is just crawling with Republicans I hear tell.

  8. hswyatt says:

    Dear Jim, the senate seat is not yours by birthright. Maybe its time to retire gracefully. Thenyou don’t know what graceful is, do you?

  9. KYGirl says:

    Am I missing something here? How is the fact that David Williams does/does not owe Jim Bunning money relevant? You know when Bunning starts bringing up stuff like that he is worried about his future in the Senate…and he should be. It is time for his senile butt to hit the road. Also – was anyone else aware that Bunning is a doctor? Apparently so, judging from his remarks about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What a loser.

  10. Dexter Alexander says:

    I quit being a Republican before the last election. I’m a registered Independent in a county where the local races are decided in the Republican primary. Neither of the two national parties represent my views; and neither of the Commonwealth’s Senators are doing an adequate job. That said, the Republicans can pick whomever they want for a US Senate candidate. If Bunning doesn’t understand that then he really has no business being in political office. And while you’re at it, former fellow party members, Ditch Mitch and his pal Hal.

  11. Clara says:

    Once again, Senator Bunning has put both feet in his mouth. What a Jerk with a capital J. He’s why I’m no longer an African American Republican.

  12. phyre says:

    Please run Jim, pleeeeeeze! The Democrats are counting on you.

  13. Clay says:

    Stand your ground, dont let Weasel Face dictate your re4tirement. It may be time to become a Democrat

  14. denni1948 says:

    Rustyboater – You are right on!!

  15. Jim Anderson Stivers says:

    Senator Bunning claimed he sent 30,000 dollars to State Republican Senator Williams.

    And, it was Williams(according to Bunning) who ask for the money.

    If Bunning did claim . . . he told Williams . . . he would need the money back, then Williams is obligated to repay him.

    For Wide Screen Williams to even consider a run against Bunning after Bunning lent, what I feel, is a considerable amount of money- shows the low character and lack of loyalty. by State Senator Williams.

  16. KYGirl says:

    Who cares if he borrowed the money? That doesn’t make him ineligible to run. That does not show low character or lack of loyalty….apparently it was a business transaction and is not at all relevant to Williams’ potential candidacy. Don’t get me wrong, I am a diehard Democrat and to see a Republican elected at all makes me sick, but Bunning trying to make a point out of this is stupid. Typical Republicans.

  17. Larry Wallace says:

    Don’t you just LOVE these politicians.

  18. […] youth and one-armed midgets.In other GOP Senate news, vulnerable red-state incumbent Jim Bunning threatens to sue the NRSC if he recruits a candidate tio run against him. –Christopher […]

  19. yellowdogDem says:

    I for one hope that Bunning runs for the Senate seat. If he does any half decent Democrat can send him to the showers. Or perhaps for a quick fix we can trade him to Illinois for a senator to be named later..

  20. […] against the (National Republican Senatorial Committee) if they did that,

  21. save the world says:

    I am a Republican, but also an independent thinker. I wouldn’t vote for this idiot for Dog Catcher. He would get bit and blame it on someone else. Although in his defense, Bunning is no different from any other Kentucky Politician, Republican or Democrat. Personally, I think the State needs to elect a commoner. Not a Big Buisness guy, not a former Mayor, Attorney General, Governer etc. Elect a Letter Carrier, A Construction Super, a Electrician, someone who has lost their home. Then We will begin to see results in OUR Government.

  22. rustyboater says:

    Save the World…well stated!

  23. James Moore says:

    Facebook users are welcome to join our group, “Jim Bunning is a Moron”

  24. Country Boy says:

    Bunning, Mitch, Rogers, Byrd, Kennedy, and all the others in DC are the prime reasons for term limits. Dems will never get elected in Eastern and Western KY when the uneducated voters blindly follow the republican playbook that the democrats are going to take away God and guns.

  25. Or perhaps for a quick fix we can trade him to Illinois for a senator to be named later..

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