ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports: Sen. Jim Bunning’s rocky road to reelection is getting even more treacherous, with the Kentucky lawmaker essentially declaring all-out war on the head of the Republican Party Senate election committee.
On Tuesday, Bunning, R-Ky., delivered an angry rant against the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. John Cornyn -- and threatened a lawsuit against NRSC officials if they support one of his possible primary challengers next year.
“I don’t believe anything John Cornyn says,” Bunning said in a conference call with reporters, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. “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 direct: ‘I’m going to run,’ which I said to him in the cloakroom of our chamber.”
Bunning’s anger was prompted by reports that Cornyn, R-Texas, met recently with Kentucky Senate President David Williams -- who is considering a bid against Bunning -- recently in Washington. Cornyn’s office described the meeting as a “courtesy visit.”
Bunning said he would base his lawsuit on the fact that NRSC bylaws require the committee to support GOP incumbents. Officially, meetings aside, the NRSC is supporting Bunning’s bid for a third Senate term -- but he is widely considered among the most vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2010, so many Republicans wouldn’t mind an alternative candidate.
Roll Call reports: “Bunning’s rant left high-level Republican operatives on Capitol Hill stunned Tuesday afternoon with some wondering how much damage the Senator’s hostility -- or ‘paranoia’ as one Republican described it -- will do to his 2010 re-election campaign which, even at this early point in the cycle, already appears to be on the ropes.”
This comes in the wake of Bunning’s weekend declaration that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was likely to die within the next nine months -- a statement that the Hall of Fame pitcher later apologized for “if my comments offended” the justice.