Mo. Sen. Kit Bond announces retirement

By Heartland News & AP
JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) - Political observers say that after nearly four decades in Missouri politics, Sen. Kit Bond leaves a legacy that will be difficult to replace.
The two-term Republican governor and four-term U.S. senator announced on Thursday that he will not seek re-election in 2010.
Former Senate colleague and fellow Republican John Danforth says Bond brought reform to Missouri politics, and his emergence in the early 1970s began what Danforth calls "one of the most illustrious political careers in Missouri's history."
Political scientists say Bond will be remembered as a moderate who generally sided with his party on foreign policy but often reached across the aisle on social issues.
Missouri Republican Sen. Kit Bond announced that he will not seek re-election in 2010 Thursday morning.
The 69-year-old Bond first was elected to the Senate in 1986, the only Republican to capture a seat previously held by a Democrat that year. Missouri voters have re-elected him three times since, and as recently as a few months ago, Bond had told crowds that he would be seeking re-election to a fifth Senate term.
Before joining the Senate, Bond served as Missouri governor and state auditor.
Bond's retirement is the second political jolt to the Missouri Republican Party in as many years.
In January 2008, Republican Gov. Matt Blunt stunned supporters and foes alike by announcing he would not seek a second term. A contentious two-way Republican primary resulted, and Democrat Jay Nixon ultimately won the governor's race in the November election.
Gov. Matt Blunt today issued the following statement:
"Senator Bond is a statesman among statesmen and a great friend and mentor.  His four decades of service have left a positive and lasting mark on Missouri.
"Senator Bond's achievements over the last forty years have brought growth and prosperity to our state, and his leadership has made our country stronger and our families safer.  When you travel the state as much as I do one sees Senator Bond's positive imprint almost everywhere.  He is an extraordinary man and an extraordinary leader.
"As Senator Bond completes his final term in the Senate, Melanie and I wish him and Linda the very best for the future."