FRANKFORT – Senate President David Williams said Monday he has decided against running for the U.S. Senate next year because he wants to seek re-election to the Kentucky Senate.
“I want to try to retain a majority” of Republicans in the state Senate, Williams said, adding that he also could not focus on a U.S. Senate race with the current special legislative session and other policy issues taking his attention.
Williams, R-Burkesville, said he thinks Republican incumbent Jim Bunning will stay in the race.
Asked if he will be endorsing anyone in next May’s GOP primary election, Williams said, “The most qualified challenger that has appeared at this particular juncture and someone I would be very excited about seeing in the United States Senate is Cathy Bailey.”
She is a former ambassador to Latvia and is a Louisville-based philanthropist, fund-raiser and charity organizer.
Williams said it would be interesting to have a qualified woman in the United States Senate from Kentucky, “someone who has the international experience that she has, and she presents herself very well.”
But Williams added that he was not endorsing any particular candidate.
“I’m not going to get too involved in primaries,” he said.
The Senate leader also claimed that Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who has formed an exploratory committee for the race, is “telling everybody” that Bunning is not running.
In response, Kevin Broghamer, spokesman for the Friends of Trey Grayson Exploratory Committee, said, “Trey doesn’t speak for Senator Bunning. Any news from the Bunning campaign would come from the senator.”
Another Republican considering the race is Bowling Green ophthalmologist Rand Paul, son of 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul. Bill Johnson, a Todd County Navy veteran and businessman, recently said he is entering the race.