BREAKING: Bunning Out

Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning (R) will not run for re-election in 2010:

Embattled U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning has announced that he will not seek re-election to a third term in 2010.

His decision ends months of speculation that he would drop out of the Senate race because of his inability to raise money, poor poll numbers and lack of support from top Republican officials.Despite accepting contributions to his campaign since 2005, Bunning had less than $600,000 in the bank at the end of the second quarter, which ended in June.


The Courier-Journal reported Sunday that more than 100 former Bunning donors had left him and were now supporting Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who has formed a exploratory committee for a Senate bid.

With Bunning out, Grayson appears to be the presumptive Republican candidate.

On the Democratic side, there’s one candidate who beats Grayson in polling–Attorney General Jack Conway (37-33)–and one candidate who trails Grayson in polling–Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo (36-40).

Of course, it’s very, very early, so polls don’t carry much meaning right now.  Still, it’s hard to see this as anything but a rare spot of good news for the Republicans–had he run for re-election, Bunning was going to be an anchor for the GOP.

With him out of the way, there’s a decent chance Republicans may hold onto this seat, though a lot will change between now and November of 2010.