[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/27/art.bunning.gi.jpg caption=" 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."