Kentucky’s Senator Bunning to retire, setting up battle for the open seat

Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning, who has provided some great amusement with his attacks on his colleague from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, is retiring. It wasn’t unexpected. But, it sets up an intense fight for the open seat:

The open seat will likely attract Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R), who outraised the senator by a two-to-one margin last quarter. National Republicans are excited for the prospect of a Grayson candidacy, which sources have told The Hill would be announced shortly after Bunning’s departure.

But Grayson will not be alone in the Republican field. He could also face former Ambassador Cathy Bailey, a wealthy former Republican National Committee member who has expressed interest in a bid and has suggested she could help finance her own campaign. Physician Rand Paul (R), the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), is already running.

Bunning said he would not endorse a candidate in the Republican primary, though he said he hopes “a strong conservative” wins the nomination.

“The Republican Party needs more people with strong principles and convictions that can stand up to the temptations of political power that have engulfed so many of our leaders after they arrive inside the beltway,” Bunning said in his statement.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (D), the once-little known state senator who nearly upset Bunning, is already engaged in a bitter battle with Attorney General Jack Conway (D). Mongiardo began with a strong fundraising performance, but Conway easily outpaced him, raising more than $1.3 million in his first three months as a candidate.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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