by Jonathan Singer, Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 05:46:25 AM EST
This might be gearing up to be another brutal cycle for the Republicans. Here's the latest speculation from The Kansas City Star:
Four-term Missouri Sen. Kit Bond is to address the Missouri General Assembly this morning amid speculation that he may have a surprise announcement.
A surprise most likely would be a statement that Bond, a Republican, won't seek a fifth term in 2010.
Politico is going even further, reporting that Kit Bond "will not run for re-election in 2010, giving Democrats a shot to pick up a seat in a state that has emerged as a major battleground."Update [2009-1-8 10:53:29 by Jonathan Singer]: So does NBC News.
If this story does pan out and Bond does not run for a fifth term next year, it would be particularly bad news for the Republicans. Already one potentially vulnerable Republican Senator from a swing state -- Mel Martinez of Florida -- has announced that he won't run again, and the biggest Republican name in that state, Jeb Bush, won't be running either. If you add to that list the name of Bond, who has been elected four times to the Senate and twice before that to the Governorship, all of the sudden potential Republican candidates all around the country start to wonder, if established names who presumably should be able to win easily don't want to run, can I really win?
Looking more locally into the MO-Sen race itself should Bond indeed retire, The Star says that former House Minority Whip Roy Blunt might be interested in the race. Of course House Republicans lost close to 60 seats under Blunt's watch over the last two cycles, so he isn't exactly the strongest potential pick. On the Democratic side, the name floating around the most seems to be that of Secretary of State Robin Carnanan, whom some (myself included) met at both Netroots Nation and the blogger tent at the Democratic National Convention. Another potential candidate could be state senator Jeff Smith, known to many as the subject of the fine documentary Can Mr. Smith Get To Washington Anymore? about his 2004 congressional bid.
At this point, if indeed Bond is out, it's hard to see how this race wouldn't be rated as a tossup.
As a quick aside... I do have to note how cool it was for Jean Carnahan, Robin's mother and a former Senator in her own right, to have introduced herself to me as "a blogger for Fired Up Missouri" rather than as a former United States Senator.