Monday, January 26, 2009

Bunning Is Grounding Out

James R. Carroll of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is having a tough go gearing up for re-election in ’10.

Sen. Jim Bunning’s re-election campaign received relatively few contributions in the final quarter of 2008 and now has less money on hand than it did last fall, according to the latest report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The two-term Kentucky Republican’s future is the focus of intense scrutiny in Kentucky and national political circles, and his financial report is likely to bring into question Bunning’s repeated assertions that he intends to run again next year.

According to the report, Bunning raised just $27,357 — from 26 separate contributions — in the last three months of 2008, and that sum essentially was consumed by campaign expenses.

Citizens for Bunning, as the senator’s campaign committee is known, had $149,991 in cash on hand at the end of last year, down from $175,000 last September.

“That is pathetic,” said Jennifer Duffy, Senate analyst with the non-partisan Cook Political Report. “Not only to not gain ground but to in fact lose ground — that is not a good sign.”

Bunning’s office declined comment.

It’s understandable that, during the 2008 election season, Bunning wouldn’t raise substantial amounts for his 2010 re-election bid, Duffy said.

“But to lose ground really does fuel speculation that this is not somebody focused on putting together a re-election campaign for 2010,” she said.

Not to mention the fact that backstage, the RNC is hinting that he should drop out and Kentucky Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, his challenger from 2004, is warming up in the bullpen. (Baseball metaphors work here; in his previous life, Mr. Bunning was a major league pitcher.)

If Mr. Bunning quits the race, he would be the sixth GOP senator to drop out, thus making the chances for the GOP winning back a majority in the Senate look like the Detroit Tigers run for the pennant in 2003.