Add Kentucky State Senate President David Williams to the list of Republicans who are resisting recruitment efforts by some national Republicans. Some Republican officials want Williams to challenge Sen. Jim Bunning in a primary, hoping that Bunning will yield to pressure and step down voluntarily. The National Republican Senatorial Committee insists that it would back Bunning in a primary, to which one might respond --
yes, but aren't you quietly backing efforts to convince other Republicans to take a look? (Actually, come to think of it, Bunning couldn't be defeated in a primary anyway). Taking the NRSC at their word that they're OK with Bunning running for re-election, though, they can't be terribly happy with all the leaks that emanate from Republican circles. (Bunning today threatened to sue the NRSC.)
The upshot is that it seems that Sen. John Cornyn and co. are having a tough time finding viable candidates to run for the Senate -- though it's not necessarily their fault.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush decided not to run in Florida for Sen. Mel Martinez's soon-to-be vacant seat; Ex-Sen. Jim Talent decided not to run in Missouri, setting up a (potentially) nasty two-person primary between an unapologetic conservative with a pedigree, Rep. Roy Blunt, and an unapologetic apostle of a more modern conservatism, Sarah Steeleman. (Steelman said recently of Blunt: ""Roy Blunt is another white guy in a suit, and I think the public wants change.") The Democratic candidate, Robin Carnahan, will not face a primary challenge.) Bush was clearly an NRSC recruit; it's not entirely clear whether Republicans wanted Talent to run -- but news leaks from Talent backers certainly forced their hand.
Call this the "it sucks to be a Republican" hypothesis. Another is that the GOP has a thin bench; many of its top candidates are known commodities; in
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