Missouri Senator Kit Bond (R) is calling it quits:
Sen. Kit Bond, the senior Republican from Missouri who sits on powerful Senate committees, announced Thursday that he will not run for reelection in 2010, giving Democrats a shot to pick up a seat in a state that has emerged as a major battleground.
The announcement is a blow to Senate Republicans who now will have at least four of their incumbents seeking retirement at the end of the session, a sign that 2010 could be another tough cycle for the weakened GOP minority.
Bond is a big deal, and his retirement is significant–it’s on the same level as John Warner’s and Chuck Hagel’s retirements last year. Bond is one of the most senior Republicans in the Senate with seats on some major committees: Appropriations, Commerce, and Intelligence.
Not only that, but Missouri has become fertile ground for Democrats. Claire McCaskill defeated incumbent Senator Jim Talent in 2006. Democrat Jay Nixon will succeed Republican Matt Blunt (son of House Minority Whip Roy Blunt) as Governor. And Barack Obama lost the state by only 5,000 votes last year.
With the right person running, Democrats have a fairly strong shot at picking up this Senate seat. It all depends on who gets nominated, but the loss of Bond is a major opening for Missouri Democrats.