Looks like Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning might have found a bigger, stronger batter to face come just 21 months from now [yikes]. The stake has been put in the ground.
Mongiardo is not my personal favorite to run, I would prefer Chandler but Mongiardo would be a formidable candidate. We will have to see how the primary goes to see if Chandler decides to stay in the House and go after McConnell in 2014 or do something else.
Mongiardo To Run For Bunning's Senate Seat
Posted: Jan 26, 2009 09:04 AM
Updated: Jan 26, 2009 10:56 AM
FRANKFORT (AP) - Days after U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning filed a lackluster campaign finance report, a prominent Kentucky Democrat announced that he will run for the two-term Republican's seat.
"The people of Kentucky deserve a senator that has the vision, energy and record to help improve our state and country," Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo said Monday in a written statement announcing his candidacy for the November 2010 election.
A longtime physician in the Kentucky coalfields, Mongiardo is the first to formally announce his intentions to challenge Bunning, although at least two others have said they are considering the race. Mongiardo said he will file the necessary paperwork later this week, setting up a possible rematch.
Bunning, a 77-year-old baseball Hall of Famer, eked out a win in 2004 when Mongiardo, then a little-known state senator, came within about 23,000 votes of unseating him. Now with the improved name recognition, Mongiardo said he would be an even more formidable candidate.
Bunning spokesman Mike Reynard said he could not immediately comment on Mongiardo's announcement. Bunning said earlier this month that he will be ready to take on the Democratic nominee, whoever that turns out to be.
Bunning, expecting to be targeted by both the state and national Democratic parties, has said he would need to raise about $10 million to win re-election to a third term. Bunning filed a campaign finance report last week that listed only $27,357 in financial contributions between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. The report, filed with the Federal Election Commission in Washington on Wednesday, showed Bunning had $150,000 on hand.
According to the finance report, Bunning has raised $524,000 since his re-election in 2004 and has spent more than $470,000 in preparation for next year's race.
In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month, Mongiardo taunted Bunning, saying he fully expects the senator to retire rather than face him again. In a prepared statement Monday, Mongiardo continued the tough talk.
"We have a senator who is simply not getting the job done," Mongiardo said. "He offers no ideas, no actions and no solutions. I believe today, as I did in 2004, that Jim Bunning continues to fail the people of our Commonwealth. Kentucky's families deserve better."
Attorney General Jack Conway and state Auditor Crit Luallen, both Democrats, have said they also are considering entering the race and that they will announce their decisions by spring.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told reporters last week that Bunning is among several GOP incumbents who will be vulnerable in the next election.
"By announcing early, Mongiardo puts a big footprint over the Democratic nomination," said University of Kentucky political science professor Stephen Voss.
The move, Voss said, could keep some other prominent Democrats out of the race. But, he said, it has its drawbacks.
"Setting yourself up very quickly as the Democrat to beat means you're the target of criticism both from Republicans trying to wound the likely enemy but also from Democrats who might desire the same position."
Mongiardo, elected lieutenant governor just over a year ago, said he made the decision to run for Bunning's seat based on a desire to improve health care.
"I have made fixing our broken health care system my life's mission," Mongiardo said. "I understand and see every day how the cost of health care is burdening families and damaging the ability of businesses to compete, to grow, and to create jobs."
His decision to challenge Bunning means Gov. Steve Beshear will likely have to choose a new running mate for his expected 2011 re-election bid. Before he can begin fundraising, Beshear has to name his running mate.
Beshear spokesman Jay Blanton said Monday the governor is not ready to discuss who his running mate will be.
"Right now, his focus in on the state budget crisis and the legislative session, she's not going to speculate on who that running mate might be," Blanton said.
Beshear said in a statement that Mongiardo would be an outstanding senator, calling him an "important voice for Kentucky's future."
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