Today swirled with speculation at who might jump into the 2010 race for Kit Bond’s seat in the Senate. You might think Democrats would be lining up to take a shot at an open seat, but just as before Bond’s surprise announcement, speculation pretty much begins and ends with Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.
Which makes sense, because she is one of only three Democrats elected statewide to state government since 2004, and one of the others, Jay Nixon, just got elected governor. The Democratic Party has been in the minority in the lege for awhile, so it’s hard to see a Democrat coming from Jeff City claiming a solid legislative resume. The last Dem to try that lost badly in a primary. Jonathan Singer from MyDD puts in a plug for Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis), but seeing as he can’t knock on every door in the state, and he’s still not very well known outside of Saint Louis, that ain’t gonna happen. (There’s also the matter of the SDCC’s performance last cycle, but that wasn’t completely his fault.) On the Democratic side, it’ll be Robin Carnahan.
Devilstower from Daily Kos and Dave Weigel run through some of the possibilities on the Republican side, Weigel implausibly making the case that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is the frontrunner. I can see Kinder running, and if he made it through the primary, even making a decent run for the seat. After all, he’s the only statewide Republican to win in a huge Democratic year, and he has a safe seat he can return to if he loses the primary or the general. But I think he’ll do what he did a year ago, which is bow out “for the good of the party” and side with the candidate who looks like a winner.
They might pull Jim Talent from the mothballs. But he lost ground to Claire McCaskill in the ‘burbs, and in SW Missouri in 2006 (both crucial for GOP chances in 2010), and he already has the stink of a loser about him (He lost in 2000 against Bob Holden, as well.) Rep. Roy Blunt and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman have talked about running, too. I don’t see either of them able to take out Carnahan, or frankly take the nomination. With Steelman in particular, there’s no love lost between her and much of the rest of the MO GOP.
My prediction is that we’ll see the MO GOP coalescing around two candidates: US Attorney Catherine Hanaway and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Tarkio). Catherine Hanaway, because she’s a Bond protege and former Speaker of the Missouri House, and Sam Graves, because he doesn’t care who Bond might anoint and thinks he deserves a shot after his 2008 thrashing of Kay Barnes. Barnes was a top Democratic recruit last cycle, and despite good early fundraising, beacoup bucks from the DCCC, and a high profile from her days as KC Mayor, went nowhere in a really nasty campaign. If Hanaway should win the primary and face Carnahan, it would be a rematch from the 2004 race for Secretary of State.
I’m sure I’m missing a ton of possibilities, especially since so many legislators are termed out in 2010. What do you think?