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MO-Senate: Bond to Retire

Missouri Sen. Kit Bond (R) will retire in 2010, a decision that hands Democrats a prime pickup opportunity in a state where the party has made strides in recent years.

"In 1972, I became Missouri's youngest Governor," Bond said this morning in an address to the Missouri General Assembly. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I do no aspire to become Missouri's oldest Senator."

Bond is the third Republican Senator to leave the chamber in 2010 -- following Sens. Sam Brownback (Kans.) and Mel Martinez (Fla.) down that path. Democrats are expected to heavily target all three seats.

Bond's retirement ends a long -- and, at times, rocky -- career in Missouri politics that began more than four decades ago when he ran and lost a race for Congress. In 1970, Bond bounced back to be elected state auditor and two years after that was elected governor of the Show Me State. In 1976 he was defeated for re-election but in 1980 reclaimed the office. (We told you it was a long and rocky career.) In 1986, Bond won a Senate seat and had managed to hold the seat ever since -- winning re-election to a fourth term in 2004 with 56 percent, his highest share of the vote ever.

Bond's retirement makes a candidacy by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the daughter of the late Governor Mel and former Senator Jean Carnahan, even more likely. Robin Carnahan had made no secret of the fact she was thinking about the race before Bond's decision. Another potential candidate is state Attorney General-elect Chris Koster although Carnahan has the right of first refusal.

The Republican bench is thinner. The three names likely to get significant attention over the next few days are former Sen. Jim Talent, former Rep. Kenny Hulshof and Rep. Roy Blunt.

Talent, who served in the House during the 1990s, lost a run for governor in 2000 but bounced back two years later to defeat Jean Carnahan. Talent lost to Sen. Claire McCaskill in his bid for a full term in 2006.

Talent has near total name identification and is a proven vote getter and fundraiser. He is also well liked by the party establishment in Missouri and Washington.

Hulshof was seen as a rising star in the party heading into the 2008 election but his drubbing at the hands of Gov.-elect Jay Nixon may well have taken some of the shine off of the former Congressman.

Blunt, now out of Republican leadership after years near its top, has no obvious reason to stay in Congress and will almost certainly take a look at the contest. But, Blunt has a young child and may prefer to leave Congress for the private sector rather than pursue a statewide campaign.

One informed Republican source said Blunt is leaning toward the race and in the midst of having conversations with key folks about such a bid. "It's something he's seriously considering right now," a source familiar with Blunt's thinking told Political Browser's Ben Pershing. The source cautioned that there is no "impending announcement" in the coming days.

Republicans were quick to argue that Bond's retirement was not necessarily a bad thing -- as he had spent decades in office (not exactly a good thing in the eyes of change voters) and, at nearly 70, might not have had the required energy to beat back a challenge from Carnahan.

"Even before Senator Bond's decision, Republicans have been preparing for a very competitive 2010 race," said NRSC Chair John Cornyn (Texas). "We have a number of qualified candidates to carry forward the Republican vision of low taxes, fiscal responsibility, health care modernization and traditional values."

Spin aside, open seats are almost always more vulnerable than races where incumbents are running and Republicans now have three to deal with. And, Missouri voters of late have shown a willingness to vote for Democrats -- Nixon for governor, McCaskill for Senate, and, very nearly, Barack Obama for president in 2008.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 8, 2009; 11:12 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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I remember years ago when congress reduced the number of PERC's the members had. Lot's decided not to run again. Most of them had served several terms before the PERCs were cut. They said it was no longer "fun" to be a member of congress. Do you think that it will be harder to find candidates if we cut out the lobbyist and big doners and corporate bundles?

Posted by: sm98yth | January 9, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Good, another obstructionist and liar out.

Posted by: sandnsmith | January 8, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Carnahan gets a free shot at this, since she's not up for reelection until 2012, so I can't see her passing; join brother Russ in Washington, following in mom's footsteps (and dad's tragically aborted ones).

The Republican field is cloudier; apparently Jim Talent is considering another go. His record is mixed; he lost comparatively smally in 2006, a great year for Democrats, but at the same time he barely won in 2002, which was a banner year for the Republicans.

Posted by: SeanC1 | January 8, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

While Carnahan is the clear frontrunner for the Dem. slot to replace Bond, the Republicans are in somewhat disarray. Hulsof looked bad in his governor's race and Steelman may have burned bridges by wating late to give a lukewarm endorsement to Hulsof. Will one of the Rep. representatives arise or someone likeState Sen. Brad Lager who lost a state race for treasurer but established a statewide recognition. The Republicans are split with strong rightwingers against the Bond moderates. How they will get together will make the key difference in their prospects for the senate seat. Beware, it is early.

Posted by: fulrich | January 8, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse


a score of us who are or have been "Fix" regulars have an online group. From time-to-time I am asked to invite someone -
could be a moderate, or a liberal, or a conservative - typically from some state we do not have represented in our group, and who posts incisively and with good manners. I try to post these invitations early in the morning and have probably averaged two per month. Most recently, I invited "JD", a libertarian who seemingly has abandoned "The Fix", to contact me.

Those were the "cryptic personal messages" to which Vic -"Scrivener" - referred.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 8, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

As a life-long Missourian, it came as a suprise to find out this evening that Senator Bond is not running for re-election in 2010. From all earlier indications, Bond said he was going to run.
The early favorite has to be Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. She is very popular and is seen as the heir to the Carnahan legacy in Missouri (Sorry Russ).
If Roy Blunt decides to run, then the GOP is in trouble. Blunt has very deep ties to the Bush Administation and the old GOP establishment in Washington. These factors did not help Kenny Hulsholf win the governor's mansion.
The GOP race will probably be between Jim Talent and Sarah Steelman. Sarah Steelman lost the GOP primary for governor to Hulsholf because the Republican establishment did not want Steelman. Jo Ann Emerson would be a good candidate, but I doubt she would run because Ms. Emerson has turned down other opportunities to run for state-wide office in the past.

Posted by: rogden71 | January 8, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse


The only one sick here is you, actually hoping the man is sick simply because you apparently don't like his politics. Is this the change we can all believe in? Try growing up.

I will now await what will surely be an illuminating response.

Posted by: tonypal | January 8, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse


The only one sick here is you, actually hoping the man is sick simply because you apparently don't like his politics. Is this the change we can all believe in? Try growing up.

I will now await what will surely be an illuminating response.

Posted by: tonypal | January 8, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Tell me he is sick!

Posted by: kase | January 8, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I can think of only 2 Republicans currently serving in office where the phrase "GOOD RIDDANCE!" would be inappropriate.

Kit Bond isn't one of them.


Posted by: onestring | January 8, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

As a resident of Jackson County, MO, it is nice to see national politicos tune in to the interesting dynamics of our corner of the world. It's (highly) rural v. (highly)urban in about equal parts, so it can be a very purple place to live.

In my lifetime I have never known a time when Kit Bond was not a statewide elected official. He did more than any other lawmaker ever to send federal money to Kansas City, since most state politicians care more about St. Louis. (I understand pork is out of favor these days, but that doesn't lessen his impact.) He was one of the few Republicans this Democrat regularly voted for. This is a great opportunity for whoever wins the seat, regardless of their party affiliation, and I hope we get someone just as good!

Posted by: MOswingvoter | January 8, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I'll bite: WHAT "cryptic personal messages"?

Posted by: mattintx | January 8, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Adios to another Republican Cockroach.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | January 8, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The young people in Missouri are FINALLY letting their voices be heard. A new generation a new day.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | January 8, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

TO: mark_in_austin (who's constantly using this blog to send cryptic personal messages, BTW...)

You continue to show your hand.

Doesn't that diminish your effectiveness?

And isn't YOUR post "off-topic," too?

This is WaPo's blog, not mine, not yours. If they want to take down any post, that's their right.

But it's NOT the right of a public entity to use taxpayer money to pay disinformation trolls to influence public opinion.

In fact, there are anti-propaganda laws that make it illegal.

I'm not saying you are a paid agent. That's only a theory...

And when WaPo wants you or anyone else to control their blog, they'll let you know.

Until then, in the words of another wannabe censor -- STFU.

If only you were as concerned about human rights and free speech as you are about being the hall monitor of "The Fix."

You are cellophane, as the show tune goes.

Go get hobby other than responding to my posts. Here -- obsess over THIS:

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 8, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Two words: Jackson County.

Jackson County is populated suburban Kansas City area and if went Red in 2008, but it's not solid Red and if it went Blue, Barack Obama would have won Missouri's Electoral Votes. Jackson County needs to be a focus for the Democrats and Republicans if they want to win a major statewide election.

Posted by: Corey_NY | January 8, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The number one key action is replace out-going Senators with the same race...White replaces White and Black replaces Black. This works BOTH ways...Every race must stick together to keep racisim alive. Just like O's seat.

Posted by: doggit1 | January 8, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

scrivener writes
"SPECIAL TO "bsimon1" (who is not 'bsimon')"

Actually, bsimon1 is bsimon. When the registration system changed my login credentials changed, so now I'm stuck with the '1' suffix.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 8, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Certain off-topic commenters might do well to remember the freedom to speak incorporates the right to STFU.

Posted by: FlownOver | January 8, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Another Republican decides that the game is up, everyone has seen through the scam foisted on America by Ronnie Raygun and his anti-union, anti-regulation and anti-government ideology. Finally given complete control over the government, it failed completely. Those who supported it will now slink off and do penance for the political sins.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 8, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Vic, Why should a blog site like this one put up with your self-indulgence and your advertising of your own weblog? Even when you post on point you add your dire warnings and conspiracy theories about directed energy weapons and your pleas to the ACLU and your link. Short answer: they should not put up with you, and bsimon's sentiment is widely shared. There is no free speech or legal issue involved. These fora are not bound to be held hostage by you and StreetCorner.
I liked Bond, from a distance, and I hope his replacement is a centrist, from either party, with the will to work with others.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 8, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

SPECIAL TO "bsimon1" (who is not 'bsimon') from Martin Niemoller:

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 8, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Scrivener - You keep posting a little relevant text followed by the usual BUT WILL IT MATTER? Secret beam weapons yada yada yada. I expect that if you posted on topic to Politico, you wouldn't have had this problem. Keep your content germane and you'll not have problems.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 8, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I MO only a few times a year so I don't follow its politics hard core, but I get the feeling that young Gov. Blunt is leaving as an unpopular governor and under some shady circumstances involving email & sunshine laws. I wonder if his "stank" would impact his father's potential campaign? Political dynasties are not as popular as they once were (e.g. Bush, Kennedy, etc)

Posted by: theo3 | January 8, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

scrivener writes

If this so-called 'censorship' keeps you from posting the same crap over and over again here & elsewhere, put me down in support of censorship.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 8, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I think that the GOP has a deeper bench than the Democrats. In addition to Roy Blunt, Talent, and Hulshof, other possibilities would include Gov. Matt Blunt, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, Rep. Sam Graves, and ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman.

But, the Democrats don't need a deep bench if Robin Carnahan is the presumptive nominee. I imagine that she will start working to gather up as much of the party machinery as she can, if for no other reason than to block AG Koster (quite an ambitious young man) from gaining any momentum.

Posted by: mgalus19 | January 8, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse



"I am making this post to fight apparent interference with, and censorship of, political blog sites by third parties with an ideological agenda."

Explanation: I can no longer post to

On Friday, I received dozens of emails stating that dozens of my posts were removed for "inappropriate content."

Even the Google links to the posts were scrubbed from the net.

Nothing was inappropriate, and I still don't think it was Politico that initiated the "take down."

I called Politico's number to find out why. The people on the other end (whoever they really were) said it was probably just a technical glitch, and that they would look into it.

Today, the story I got from a woman who SAID she worked for Politico was that my posts were considered "spam" -- and that my account would NOT be reactivated.

Then I called and asked for John Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico. Someone who SAID he was John Harris said he would look into this.

So WHY am I posting this to "The Fix" and to all of Chris' readers?

Because the REAL John Harris must know if some entity is assuming his identity.

Since my telecommunications are subject to interception and tampering, I am using this channel to communicate. It is vital to both Politico and The Washington Post that the First (free speech) and Fourth (unreasonable search/seizure) Amendment rights of media outlets be respected, along with the rights of their readers.

Apparent prior restraint and censorship of political blogs cannot stand in a free America.

My decades of investigative reporting tell me that some very powerful entity does not want my article to be seen by decision-makers.

Here is a link to the article in question.


ps -- It's not just Politico. Sometimes my posts here at the "Fix" are greeted with a full-screen message that the post has been "received and is being held for the blog owner."

I believe several stories posted to my blog site about the "spoofed pages"/warrantless surveillance (and TAMPERING) issue are the reason my posts to The Fix are again going through and have not been taken down...

...also, perhaps, a fear of pushing around The Washington Post.

If anyone else is having similar problems, please post to my blog site.

And if the Electronic Freedom Foundation, the Media Access Project, the ACLU or anyone else concerned with freedom in speech in America would like to report on my experiences, I will gladly make myself available. Contact me via my web site.

THIS JUST IN... Now I can't post to either.

Is this the CYBER-GULAG?

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 8, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Robin Carnahan has high appeal. As the daughter of a loved governor, a cancer survivor, a very able secretary of state, and a native of rural south central Missouri, she will be tough for Republicans to tarnish. Her early experience observing elections for the Democratic International Institute is a plus. Chalk up another Democratic vistory!

Posted by: rollalib | January 8, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"With Reid and Durbin around they will figure a way to blow it."

They didn't blow it in 06 or 08 and now have a commanding majority.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 8, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

This race can be likened to New Mexico's last year after Pete Domenici retired. If (when) Carnahan is recruited into the race we won't trail in a single poll from now until election day. Two Democratic senators in Missouri.
67 after election day 2010. Great start to 2009.

Posted by: jdunph1 | January 8, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

With Reid and Durbin around they will figure a way to blow it.

Posted by: crrobin | January 8, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

So there IS a God! Hallelujah!

Posted by: FlownOver | January 8, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget Missouri lost its rep as the ultimate bellwether state in the last election, going (narrowly) for McCain instead of Obama. It's one of those urban vs rural states, where the two big cities consistently vote Dem and the mass of small town voters hew to the GOP. If that pattern continues in the Goober election, it will now favor the Democrats in a way it hasn't in the past.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 8, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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