KY-Sen: Bunning Showing Signs Of Retiring?
by Todd Beeton, Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 01:18:32 PM EDT
If true, this blows:
Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, the most endangered Republican up re-election in 2010, appears headed for retirement after giving his leading GOP rival the blessing to prepare to run for his seat next year.
Bunning's retirement would be a huge victory for national Republicans who have grown increasingly nervous that the 77-year-old two-term senator would lose a critical race as the party tries to cling to its diminished minority in the Senate.
On Thursday afternoon, Kentucky GOP Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced that he would form an exploratory committee to run for Bunning's seat - a move that Kentucky GOP operatives say is a precursor to Bunning's retirement. Grayson's entry will come as a relief to Kentucky Republicans and Senate GOP leaders, who may now have reason to believe their party could hold on to this seat.
A recent PPP poll showed Bunning tanking below 40% in head-to-head match-ups against 4 different Democrats. Bunning dropping out was always the only way the GOP was going to keep this seat and the fact that Bunning is likely to step aside for Trey Grayson to run is even better news for Big John Cornyn. Grayson polled the best against those same Democrats, even defeating two of them. The Democrat that fares best against Grayson and indeed against all potential comers: Rep. Ben Chandler who beats Grayson 40-34.
Update [2009-4-30 17:26:59 by Todd Beeton]:Mark Nicklaus says beware of this story:
Until Bunning confirms this story, I would view it with a great deal of skepticism as this smells like another weak Politico hit piece with nothing in it but "GOP operatives" who are trying to bring down Bunning. This is part of the coup, not a plan that Bunning is part of.
It may very well work and Bunning may realize his days are numbered and he needs to retire, but don't be surprised if later today he flips out and says the story is BS.
After all, this is a Politico story. View with skepticism.
After all, Bunning did just say yesterday that he didn't expect to face any primary opponent, signaling his full intention to run for re-election (Grayson for the record has said he will not primary Bunning.)