Sen. Jim Bunning to Retire Due to Slow Fundraising

By Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 27, 2009; 5:23 PM

Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning bowed to political reality today, announcing that he would not seek a third term in 2010 -- a move that drastically increases Republicans' chances of holding the seat next fall.

"Over the past year, some of the leaders of the Republican Party in the Senate have done everything in their power to dry up my fundraising," said Bunning, referring to his testy relationships with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas). "The simple fact is that I have not raised the funds necessary to run an effective campaign for the U.S. Senate. For this reason, I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010."

McConnell took the high road in his quote, praising Bunning as having had "two Hall of Fame worthy careers" and adding: "I am honored to have worked by his side in the Senate for the past several years." (Bunning won 224 games in 18 major league seasons and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.)

Bunning's fundraising had lagged for months. After collecting just $263,000 in the first three months of the year, Bunning brought in a meager $305,000 from April 1 to June 30.

Cornyn, in a statement praised Bunning, but quickly pivoted to his party's increased chances of holding the seat. "The Democrats are facing a divisive primary between candidates who support growing the size of government and increasing spending in Washington," said Cornyn. "Republicans stand well-positioned to keep this seat in the Republican column."

Bunning had openly flirted with retirement and had even gone so far as telling Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) to open an exploratory committee to raise money for a candidacy in the event he decided against running.

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