WASHINGTON (CNN) – Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning said Tuesday he's ready to sue Senate Republicans if they back a challenger in next year's GOP primary.
“I would have a suit against the NRSC if they did that,” Bunning told Kentucky reporters on a conference call. “Support of incumbents is the only reason for [the NRSC's] existence. So if they recruited someone and supported them in a primary against me, I would be able to sue them because they’re not following their bylaws.”
His threat follows a report that Kentucky's State Senate president, David Williams, recently met with officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. NRSC Chairman John Cornyn told the Washington Post the meeting was a "courtesy visit" and that the committee fully supports Bunning. Williams has not yet said whether he is planning a Senate bid in 2010.
Bunning dismissed Cornyn's remarks. “I don’t believe anything John Cornyn says," he said Tuesday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. "I’ve had miscommunications with John Cornyn from I guess the first week of this current session of the Senate. He either doesn’t understand English, or he doesn’t understand direct - ‘I’m going to run’ - which I said to him in the cloakroom of our chamber.”
He expressed similar frustration last month with his fellow Kentuckian, Sen. Mitch McConnell, after the Senate Minority leader said he was unsure whether Bunning would run again.
“[McConnell] either had a lapse of memory or something when speaking to the Press Club last week when he said that he didn't know what my intentions were,” he said then. “He knew very well what my intentions were.”
Bunning - who has roughly $150,000 in his campaign account, according to his most recent FEC filing - is considered one of the Senate's most endangered Republicans heading into the next cycle. He drew unwanted headlines over the weekend with his prediction that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who suffers from cancer, would be dead within the year.
Democratic Kentucky Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, who nearly unseated Bunning in 2004, has already said he will run again in 2010.