Diary

Bunning Saga Gets Weirder and Weirder

Jim Bunning is in an increasingly nasty fight with the Senate Republican leadership over his 2010 re-election campaign. While NRSC Chair John Cornyn and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell would be happy if he steps aside, they will not publicly acknowledge it. For his part, Bunning has said that he will seek re-election next year. But many wonder if the incumbent can win. He has raised little money and he barely prevailed in 2004. The big knock against him in that race was his ‘erratic’ behavior – and his recent antics give opponents plenty more ammunition for the charge.

And now – as if things couldn’t get any weirder – Bunning has reportedly threatened to resign his seat and allow Kentucky’s Democrat Governor to appoint his replacement:

As he battles his own party in an increasingly public feud over his political future, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) has suggested he may resign his seat early, giving Kentucky’s governor the chance to hand Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.

According to a well-placed source, Bunning told guests at a fundraiser this week in Washington that, thanks to top Washington Republicans questioning his ability to win a third term, he may instead simply quit his seat.

The Kentucky senator strongly denied making the comments. “It’s not true. I intend to fulfill my obligation to the people of Kentucky,” Bunning said in a statement his office provided to The Hill. “If you are going to write something like this you’d better make your sources known because they are lying.”

This food fight is an embarrassment. GOP-held Senate seats are scarce enough that we can’t put more at risk. Kentucky may wind up as the Democrats’ number one target next year – regardless of whether Bunning is the nominee.

One thing is clear however: Bunning has no chance at re-election behaving the way he is now. If he truly intends to seek re-election, he ought to start acting like someone who has a prayer of winning a statewide race.