July 27th, 2009
04:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Bunning announces he won't seek re-election, takes shot at GOP

 Bunning is not seeking re-election.
Bunning is not seeking re-election.

(CNN) - Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, announced Monday he would not run for re-election in 2010, blaming GOP leaders for his campaign's struggle to gain traction and its poor fundraising performance over the last year.

"To win a general election, a candidate has to be able to raise millions of dollars to get the message out to voters," Bunning said in a statement. "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."

"The simple fact is that I have not raised the funds necessary to run an effective campaign for the U.S. Senate," Bunning continued. "For this reason, I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010."

The 77-year-old Hall of Fame pitcher has openly butted heads with his party's leadership since initially declaring earlier this year his intention to seek a third Senate term. Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee had been tepid on a re-election bid for Bunning, who narrowly escaped defeat in 2004 and was likely to face stiff competition next year.

In conference calls with members of the media earlier this year, Bunning called McConnell a "control freak" and pledged to sue the National Republican Senatorial Committee if they supported another Republican candidate.

Bunning was also quick to hit back at McConnell earlier this year when the Republican leader suggested Bunning's age could be a factor in his re-election bid.

"Do you know Arlen Specter will be 80, has had four bouts with cancer and he still wants to run for the U.S. Senate?" Bunning told reporters last May. "And I'm being criticized at 77 and healthy for wanting to run for the U.S. Senate by certain leadership people in my party. Give me a break."


Filed under: Jim Bunning
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. kelly

    We now have 3 parties in the congress

    Democrats, Conservative democrats and Republicans

    People we have a 3 party system – finally

    This is great news to the Democrats

    July 27, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Mike Moderate

    Mitch McConnell......now there's a prize for you.

    If you ever drive the highways in that state you will see that ol Mitch has NEVER taken care of his home state. Also his wife, Elaine Chao, the former director of the Department of labor was the most useless political hack appointment made by Bush.

    I remember when Kentucky was full of hard working democrats....now where did they go.

    Two nutjob Senators at work........keep fighting with Mississippi for last place in most endeavors..

    If you think McConnell is going to help anyone but himself bunning you are crazy...well...you are...but that is a another story.

    July 27, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Tom

    The Sooner the Better.

    He is intelligent, he realized his true worth.

    Good sense prevailed on him.

    When is GOP going to realize?

    Never before it is too late :(

    July 27, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. johnnie

    Jim Bunning , would not stand a Chance anyway, it out with the old and in with the (BLUE)

    July 27, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. independent

    Jim. Switch parties.

    July 27, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Mike

    I guess the people of Kentucky actually made this decision for him. If they backed him and wanted him, he would have raised the money.

    July 27, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Senator Bunning, at age 77 it is time for you to hang up the tack and retire to the stables in Blue Grass Kentucky!

    July 27, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Larry

    The political parties have had millions of dollars worth of free air time lately concerning health care reform.

    The Democrats, for the most part, put their noses to the grindstone and tried to pound out a bill addressing reform.

    The Republicans spent too much time pointing the finger, criticizing and obstructing progress.

    Bunning, all the millions of dollars Republicans have to spend on campaigns won't matter in 2010, 2012 and 2014. We've all had our fill of you.

    July 27, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Ken

    As a child, I was a Phillies fan and I remember watching Jim Bunning's perfect game on TV. How sad and disappointing it has been to grow up and find one of your childhood heros has turned into one of the ignorant rightwing cabal that is continually trying to hi-jack this country back to the dark ages. And then for him to be in the midst of all this pre-election [R] hypocrisy....I understand his frustration, but what does he expect? He decided to "lay" with these thieves, now he must pay the consequences. And don't even mention Specter and his switch to the [D]s - the [D]s indeed have a big, wide tent, but as far as Bunning is concerned, I don't think that tent should extend over the edge of the flat earth that Bunning inhabits.

    July 27, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Who gives a crap about Kentucky anyway? The only thing they ever did for us was fried chicken....horse racing is boring. haha

    July 27, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Gonzo in Houston

    There's more to this than meets the eye. What's the conflict with McConnell and Bunning?

    July 27, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. joe smith

    it appears to me, that Bunning can still throw a good slider; so good, he even makes his own party miss..or the press has thoroughly lied to the good people of Kentucky..

    July 27, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Melissa

    How amusing. The Republicans are like a bunch of rabid dogs feasting on their own carcass. Its insane.

    July 27, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Predicta

    He's being ousted from the RP cause he's too liberal i his views. Chances are the RNC is looking for a more conservative candidate to run, as he barely won his last election and they feel he won't win this time. It draws a striking similarity to Arlen Specter, who wouldn't have won his party's nomination as a Republican and may not win re-election as a democrat.

    July 27, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. Alfred E. Neumann

    Jim Bunning will not seek re-election to the amazement of no one!

    July 27, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. Beverly in NC

    McConnell is saying Bunning is too old to be a Senator?? That's hilarious. Has McConnell looked in the mirror lately? He is old as dirt and completely clueless to the reality of what is actually going in the lives of the American people. He just sits up there and makes rambling criticisms of President Obama every single day.

    McConnell is the daily Senate Republican negativity nut and Boehner is the daily House negativity nut.

    Anyone who disagrees with the dying Republican Party is attacked mercilessly. With so few decent Republicans left who could possibly get re-elected, you think they would be trying to keep them to hang onto any seats come 2010.

    The Party of NO is going to get a huge surprise when the voters all vote NO on every Republican up for reelection in 2010.

    July 27, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. Robert

    I'm not sorry to hear Sen. Bunning is not running for re-election. I am very sorry to see and hear the Mitch McConnell is still in office. After a horrible and slanderous general election in 2008, the people of Kentucky will do better when both of these men are out of office.

    July 27, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Jack in Florida

    Take Mitch McConnell with you.........please. He is such a waste!

    July 27, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. Kentucky Voter

    Jim, we love you but your time has passed. Let one of the other Republicans have a shot at your seat. You might have won the primary but you would have lost the general election. We need to keep that seat if we're going to stop Obama frim ruining this great country of ours.

    July 27, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. Jero

    this is the 4th? 5th? republican senator who won't seek re-election, i wonder why... maybe they all found out that they heaviliy screwed up from 2001-2007, and now when they have to pay the bill on a re-election bid, they are cowards and chicken out. The Republican party is either refrehing the people they have in congress. (or hope to do so), or the republican party is dying from within.

    July 27, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Peter E

    We do need to put term/age limits on Congressmen. Sen. Byrd is over 90 and spends half his time in hospitals instead of doing the job we elected him for. Strom Thurmond was the all-time record holder and was absentee for most of his last term. In any other profession they'll refuse to renew your contract when you aren't capable of fulfilling it. We should hold our representatives to the same standards we are held to!

    July 27, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Limbaugh is a liberal

    And republicans question why they are in a political wasteland? It's because all they care about is criticizing others, including their own party, trying to score political points and raise funds for elections. If they spent even a small fraction of that effort instead on thinking, and coming up with VIABLE plans, maybe people would listen to them. Instead they whine for months about democrats, and then try to pass of a 16 page outline with NO NUMBERS as an 'alternate' budget plan. How can you have a budget without numbers?

    July 27, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. susie

    He's 77 years old time to let someone else run. He will get his pension and health insurance from the Government.

    July 27, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |