The McCreary County Record

State News

April 23, 2009

Bunning's still in, says fund raising picking up

Says Democrats may want to think the race, not him

FRANKFORT — Jim Bunning said he is “not going to re-think” running for re-election next year in light of difficulties he’s encountered raising money for the campaign and thinks now that $7 million – not his original estimate of $10 million – will be enough to finance his campaign.

Bunning, 77, the Republican Kentucky Senator who wants a third term even though some in his party seem to think he should step aside, told Kentucky reporters recently that his fundraising was going “lousy.”

But Tuesday he said that during the first quarter “it turned out to be a little better than lousy, but it was pretty bad.” Bunning reported to the Federal Election Commission last week that he’d raised $262,843 during the first quarter, especially meager for an incumbent. One of his announced Democratic challengers, Kentucky Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, reported raising $429,550 during the same time frame.

Mongiardo, who lost to Bunning narrowly in 2004, announced in December he’d run again for the seat. Since then, Darlene Fitzgerald Price, a former U.S. customs agent from McCreary County, and Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway have also announced they’ll run. Conway announced after the first quarter FEC filing deadline.

Bunning has said his fundraising is going poorly because his “party leadership” – presumably Senate Republican Leader and Kentucky’s other U.S. senator, Mitch McConnell, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who heads up the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee – have discouraged prospective donors to his campaign. But Bunning said he raised between $70,000 and $75,000 at a northern Kentucky fundraiser in April attended by former L.A. Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and about $50,000 last week at an event attended by Mississippi Republican Gov. Haley Barbour at the Prospect home of Bill Samuels, CEO of Maker’s Mark. Both of those events occurred after the first-quarter period covered by the FEC report.

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