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March 31, 2009

Bunning says fund raising picking up after 'lousy' start

Has two upcoming Kentucky fund raising events

FRANKFORT — U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky said fund raising for his 2010 re-election campaign has been “lousy” but has picked up of late. And he’s got two fund raisers scheduled in the next two weeks.

“Surprisingly, we’ve had pretty good success the past month,” Bunning said during a teleconference with Kentucky reporters Tuesday.

Bunning at first said he wasn’t sure why fund raising had picked up, saying maybe “continuous work at it, maybe calling and asking, whatever you want to call it.” But then he said it might be people realize he’s going to stay in the race – despite not too subtle efforts by some, including Kentucky’s other Republican Senator, Mitch McConnell, to pressure him not to run for a third term.

“Maybe I’ve finally convinced everybody that in spite of my leadership that I’m running,” Bunning said. “That may be a selling point.”

Bunning said he’s faced at least minor Republican primary opposition in each of his federal races and wouldn’t be surprised if he has primary opposition this time. Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson has said he would consider the race, but only if his long-time friend, Bunning, didn’t run. Senate President David Williams of Burkesville, however, has been mentioned as a potential primary challenger though he’s never said he’s running.

One of Bunning’s upcoming fund raising events, scheduled for April 16 at the Prospect home of Makers Mark CEO Bill Samuels, lists three Republican state senators as co-hosts: Ernie Harris of Crestwood, Dan Seum of Louisville, and Gary Tapp of Shelbyville. Two said they agreed to serve as co-hosts before Williams was mentioned as a potential candidate.

Bunning is “the only guy in the race right now,” Harris said when asked if his name on the invitation indicated he prefers Bunning to his Senate President. He said he agreed to serve as a co-host before Williams had been mentioned as a possible candidate.

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