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Missouri Senator Kit Bond not to run for re-election in 2010

The GOP retirements are already underway. From AP-

Republican Sen. Kit Bond announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election in 2010, saying he wants to go out "at the top of my game" and setting the stage for what one expert said could be a "land rush" for the seat.

Bond, 69, made the announcement at the state Capitol, shortly after Missouri lawmakers convened.

"Public service has been a blessing and a labor of love for me ... but I have decided that my Senate career will end after this, my fourth term," he said.

Bond was first elected to the Senate in 1986 -- the only Republican that year to capture a seat previously held by a Democrat. Voters re-elected him three times. Before joining the Senate, Bond was governor and state auditor.

*****

Possible GOP candidates include Rep. Roy Blunt, who recently stepped down from his post as House Minority Whip; his son, outgoing Gov. Matt Blunt; and former Sen. Jim Talent, who narrowly lost his bid for re-election in 2006 to Democrat Claire McCaskill. Other possibilities are Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and two other House members, Jo Ann Emerson and Sam Graves.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the daughter of the late-Gov. Mel Carnahan and former Sen. Jean Carnahan, had been considered the strongest Democrat in a race against Bond.

Bond's decision comes as a surprise and can't be considered good news. While there is a large pool of potential republican candidates for 2010, this state only went for John McCain by 3,000 votes in 2008.

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