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Let's be Blunt: No Talent in 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 10, 2009 - Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., has decided against seeking the job again in 2010, when fellow Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond retires.

Talent -- who lost his post in 2006 to Democrat Claire McCaskill -- said in a statement issued Tuesday night that he was foregoing the 2010 contest, in part because "there are other qualified Republicans who are seriously investigating the race, and it is vital to prevent the kind of dissension that hurt my party's ticket so greatly in 2008."

"In addition, I have family and public obligations which this unexpected race would disrupt. Chief among the latter is my work as vice chairman of the Commission on WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, which is working to prevent a nuclear or biological attack on the United States."

Talent served four years in the U.S. Senate, after knocking off then-Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Mo., in 2002. But his decision not to seek a return -- and a possible rematch against another member of the Carnahan family -- isn't entirely unexpected.

Although Talent had expressed some interest in making another bid for the Senate, he had not been as publicly visible about it of late as U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Strafford, the state's senior Republican in the U.S. House and father of the just-departed governor, Matt Blunt.

There appears to be a GOP effort to pave the way for the elder Blunt, especially since Missouri Democrats already appear to be coalescing behind Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, daughter of Jean Carnahan and the late Gov. Mel Carnahan (who posthumously won the Senate seat in 2000, leading to his widow's appointment).

If the senior Blunt seeks the 2010 Senate vacancy, rumors are rife that son Matt may been considering a return to politics by vying for his father's then-open seat in the U.S. House.

To do so, Matt Blunt wouldn't even have to move from his beloved Springfield, Mo. But will the state Republican Party part the seas for him?


State GOP chairman David Cole issued a statement praising Talent's action as reflecting "a gentleman and a statesman who puts others before himself and his personal goals."

Talent, said Cole, "is helping unite our party in this critical election cycle."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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