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United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2004: Map


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The Kentucky Senate Election of 2004 was held on November 2, 2004 with Jim Bunning elected to serve his second term. The primary election was held on May 18, 2004.

Bunning was heavily favored for a second term in 2004 after his expected Democratic opponent, Governor Paul Patton, saw his career implode in a scandal over an extramarital affair. Eventually, the Democrats settled on Daniel Mongiardo, a relatively unknown physician and State Senator from Hazardmarker.

Primary election


The race for the Democratic nomination was between State Senator Daniel Mongiardo and David Lynn Williams. In a poll released in May, Mongiardo lead 23% to 17%. But in the end he won by a landslide 64% to 35%.


Incumbent Jim Bunning was challenged by State Senator Barry Metcalf. As expected, Bunning won easily, 83% to 16%.

General election

During his reelection bid in 2004, controversy erupted when Bunning described Mongiardo as looking "like one of Saddam Hussein's sons." Public pressure compelled him to apologize. Bunning later went on to declare that Mongiardo's "thugs" had assaulted his wife.

Bunning had an estimated $4 million campaign war chest, while Mongiardo had only $600,000. The Democrats began increasing financial support to Mongiardo when it became apparent that Bunning's bizarre behavior was costing him votes, purchasing more than $800,000 worth of additional television airtime on his behalf.

The November 2 election was one of the closest in Kentucky history. The race turned out to be very close, with Mongiardo leading with as many as 80% of the returns coming in. However, Bunning eventually won by just over one percentage point. Some analysts felt that because of President George Bush's 20% margin of victory in the state, Bunning was able to effectively ride the President's coattails to victory.


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