Saturday, February 28, 2009

TX Sen. Cornyn May Be Pushing Senate To 60 Dem Votes

Kentucky GOP Senator Jim Bunning is increasingly angry that the GOP senatorial committee has appearently recruited someone to run against him in the 2010 GOP primary. In a conference call with reporters this week, Bunning lashed out at Texas Senator John Cornyn, the Texan who is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which recruits and supports Republicans to run for the Senate.

Senator Cornyn confirmed Monday, in an interview with The Washington Post, that some Republicans wanted Bunning to retire, but added that "as long as he says he is running I will be supportive of him." Bunning said in the conference call with reporters, "I don't believe anything John Cornyn says. . . I've had miscommunications with John Cornyn from, I guess, the first week of this current session of the Senate. He either doesn't understand English or he doesn't understand a direct 'I'm going to run,' which I said to him in the cloakroom of our chamber when he asked me."

In recent weeks, Senate Republican leaders have all but declared open war on Senator Bunning. Minority Leader (and fellow Kentucky senator) Mitch McConnell and others reportedly believe Bunning is likely to lose his reelection race in 2010, and so are trying to nudge him into retirement by sending signals that the party establishment will not back him. According to a story in the HuffingtonPost, Bunning reportedly has said privately that, "if he is hindered in raising money for his re-election campaign he is ready with a response that would be politically devastating for Senate Republicans: his [immediate] resignation."

The implication is that Bunning would allow Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, to appoint his replacement -- a move that could give Democrats the 60 votes they need to block Republican filibusters in the Senate.

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