Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kentucky Senate: Democrat to Announce 2010 Challenge to Bunning

By Nathan L. Gonzales

Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning (R) is about to pick up his first challenger, and his race is not for another 27 months.

Former U.S. Customs Agent Darlene Fitzgerald Price (D) is set to announce her candidacy for the Senate on Aug. 2. Price is also a former captain in the Army Military Police Corps and co-author of the 2006 book “BorderGate,” which “details her brave fight against corruption within the Department of Homeland Security,” according to her Web site.

Price may be getting in first, but she certainly won’t be alone in the race against Bunning, who is considered one of the most vulnerable Senators of next cycle’s class.

State Attorney General Jack Conway (D) is mentioned as a possibility and would make a strong candidate. The good-looking statewide office holder narrowly lost to then-Rep. Anne Northup (R), 52 percent to 48 percent, in Kentucky’s 3rd District in 2002.

Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D) is also a potential candidate. He narrowly lost to Bunning, 51 percent to 49 percent, in 2004, when he was a state Senator. In 2007, Mongiardo was elected statewide on the ticket that ousted incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R).

State Auditor Crit Luallen (D), who considered challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this cycle, is also mentioned as a potential Senate candidate.

Even with the field to herself, Price isn’t doing herself any favors. She’s set to announce her candidacy in McCreary County. But, as noted by Louisville Courier-Journal political reporter Joe Gerth, every political reporter in the state will be at St. Jerome’s picnic at Fancy Farm, the annual fall kickoff for state campaigns, roughly 300 miles away.

UPDATE: According to another Democratic source, Mongiardo and Luallen are less likely to run, but Rep. Ben Chandler and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson are potential candidates.

This item first appeared on RollCall.com on 2008 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.