U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning bade the Kentucky Republican Party farewell May 8, telling supporters that “it’s been great” as he watches two contenders vie for the GOP nomination for his seat.
At the GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, Bunning cracked jokes and told a crowd that included notable Republicans he was looking forward to time with his family. The Courier- Journal reported that U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader and once Bunning’s closest ally, was absent from the dinner.
“This has been, the 30 years I’ve served the public, the best years of my life,” said Bunning, who spent 17 years as a Major League Baseball pitcher before turning to politics. “But with 35 grand kids and five great-grand kids … (my wife) Mary and I are really looking forward to coming home.”
Bunning bowed out of an expected re-election bid in July 2009, citing fundraising difficulties. Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Bowling Green ophthalmologist Rand Paul, the two Republicans who hope to nab the GOP nomination on May 18, attended the dinner but did not speak.
Bunning is backing Paul, the son of former presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, while McConnell is supporting Grayson.
Larry Cox, who runs Mc- Connell’s Kentucky office, attended and said that Mc- Connell had to be in Washington D.C.