The Louisville Courier-Journal has another bombshell about Sen. Jim Bunning, the embattled Republican who is increasingly going rogue in an effort to hold onto his seat.
In recent weeks, Senate Republican leaders have walked right up to the edge of declaring open war on 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.
Bunning has responded aggressively, threatening to sue the Senate Republicans' campaign arm if it doesn't fully back his reelection.
And now the latest: Bunning "reportedly 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 resignation."
The Kentucky Republican suggested that possible scenario at a campaign fundraiser for him on Capitol Hill earlier this week, according to three sources who asked not to be identified because of the politically sensitive nature of Bunning's remarks.
The implication, they said, was 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.
"I would get the last laugh. Don't forget Kentucky has a Democrat governor," one of the sources quoted Bunning as saying.
"The only logical extension of that comment is, '(Make me mad) ... enough and I'll resign, and then you've got 60 Democrats,' " said another source who was present at the event.
Read the full story here.
A Democratic Senate aide told the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim: "Bunning has always been a loose cannon. It's just surprising that Mitch McConnell decided to light a match so close to him. With only 41 Republicans left, you'd think they'd be a little more careful not to actively alienate members of the caucus."
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