Jefferson City, Mo. – Sen. Kit Bond says he won't seek re-election in 2010.
The Republican made the announcement Thursday morning at the state Capitol, shortly after Missouri lawmakers convened. "In 1973, I became Missouri's youngest governor," he said. "I do not aspire to become Missouri's oldest Senator."
Bond said he and his wife Linda discussed the decision over the holidays. "We decided that 40 years in public service was enough I intend to step aside, not to retire, but to pursue other things, and do things which I think can be worthwhile," Bond said.
Missouri Republican Party executive director Jared Craighead said he doesn't expect Bond's role to change even as he leaves the Senate. "You know, I think communicating our message, I think helping with fundraising, I think recruiting candidates, a lot of the same things that he's been doing for years and years for the party," Craighead said. "I don't see a drastic shift in his role."
Several months ago, Bond had told crowds that he would be seeking re-election to a fifth Senate term. Also, Bond's chief of staff, Brian Klippenstein, had moved home to Missouri from Washington, a move seen by Republicans and other observers as a strong sign Bond was laying the groundwork for another campaign. But UM St. Louis political science professor David Robertson says Bond likely did a simple calculation. "The difficulty of winning re-election, and the payoff for re-election for his state and his policy agenda is not so clear at this point," Robertson said.
A poll for the liberal political blog Daily Kos showed Bond in a tight race against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who's the leading Democratic candidate in 2010. Republicans mentioned include Representative Roy Blunt, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, and former Senator Jim Talent.
Bond, 69, was first was elected to the Senate in 1986. He was the only Republican to capture a seat previously held by a Democrat that year. Missouri voters have re-elected him three times since.
He also served as state auditor.