Republicans hoping to put a dent in Democrats' Senate majority in 2010 got some disheartening news Thursday in the form of Missouri Sen. Kit Bond's announcement that he won't seek reelection.
This is not the kind of open seat the GOP wants to have to defend, as Democrats have been gaining ground in Missouri recently. Claire McCaskill defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent there in 2006, Jay Nixon turned the state house blue last year and John McCain was just barely able to eke out a victory over Barack Obama there, winning by about 4,000 votes, compared to the 200,000 vote margin George W. Bush had over John Kerry in the state.
Nor does it help that the year's slate of Senate seats overall puts the GOP at a disadvantage. They already have to deal with the retirement of Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, and while most of the Democrats running for re-election are fairly safe, Republicans Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard Burr of North Carolina, George Voinovich of Ohio and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania could all face tough fights. The only bright spot for the party so far is the number of Democratic vacancies caused by the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the White House, as well as by appointments to Obama's administration.