BACKGROUND: Kit Bond's now imaginary 2010 re-election campaign seemed to kick off with kitchenware.
Back in 2007, somebody in Bond's campaign operation passed out "Bond 2010" mugs at the Missouri Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Extravaganza. It seemed like a sure sign that the Missouri political legend was going to run for yet another term int he world's foremost deliberative body.
"One needs to be ready," Bond said at the time, without saying he was running or not running again.
As it turned out, Bond decided to call it a career earlier this year. And he made the announcement in familiar territory - the Missouri State Capitol Building. It was there where Bond served a partial term as state Auditor and two non-consecutive terms as governor. It's safe to say that Bond is one of the last Missouri politicians from the 1970s who is still relevant in the new millennium.
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: Bond didn't always please everyone. He was criticized from the right for supporting the federal appropriations process. And his views on some foreign affairs issues occasionally caused controversy. But Bond's legacy may ultimately be a positive one. He is widely seen as a successful governor and likely contributed much toward building the state's infrastructure. It's no accident that the UM System President Gary Forsee went out of his way at Bond's farewell press conference to praise the departing lawmaker.
But Bond's legacy probably was cemented as soon as he was elected governor in 1972. Because of Bond, John Danforth and John Ashcroft, the Republican Party became a permanent force in Missouri politics. That's no small feat, considering that Democrats had generally controlled the Show Me State for generations. Now, every election of consequence is as close a Milwaukee Bucks game.
FUN FACT: In 2006, I asked politicians to weigh in on Boone County country ham. A lot of the candidates went out of their way to praise the salty monstrosity. Boone County Commissioner Skip Elkin went so far to say that the ham is the greatest ham in the country. No joke.
Bond's response? Well, I think his tongue was planted firmly in his cheek: "I think it has a tough battle against Moniteau County ham and, let’s see, Osceola and Lexington and Lafayette County," Bond said. "It’s always fun to try it out, to see which one’s the best. And I haven’t made up my mind, but I look forward to continual sampling to see if I can see an edge emerging from one of our competing counties for country-cured ham."