NEW: ANOTHER G.O.P. OPERATIVE, WITH TIES TO JIM TALENT, CONFIRMS TO THE NOTEBOOK THAT FORMER SENATOR IS "VERY SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING" A RUN FOR KIT BOND'S U.S. SENATE SEAT.
COULD SET UP TALENT VS. BLUNT SHOWDOWN
"I Don't See Talent Blinking," says a separate consultant.
Politico reports that two Republican operatives close to the former Senator say he's likely to run for Sen. Kit Bond's seat.
Top Republican consultants see Rep. Roy Blunt and former Sen. Jim Talent as the top contenders in the G.O.P. field to replace Bond.
When asked if the candidacy of Blunt could deter Talent, one Republican operative said, "I don't see Talent blinking."
STATEMENT FROM FMR. SEN. TALENT:
"This announcement is a stunning blow to me and to all of us who admire Kit Bond as a statesman and who regard him as a friend. His service to our state over the last 40 years has improved the lives of Missourians, and all Americans, in more ways than can be counted. We have better schools, greater opportunity, and a safer and stronger country because of Kit Bond's public service. To me personally, this announcement means the retirement of a great friend and mentor. My wife Brenda and I wish him and Linda always and only the best. We know his final two years in the United States Senate will be outstanding and that he will continue to find ways to serve his country and state for years to come."
PLUS: A Steelman supporter phones The Notebook to reassure: "Sarah's very, very seriously considering it."
ARE THE 3 STRONGEST GOP STATEWIDES, ROY BLUNT, JIM TALENT AND SARAH STEELMAN?
Possible 7th District Congressional G.O.P. Contenders: Nixa State Rep. Jay Wasson, State Senator Jack Goodman, Joplin State Senator Gary Nodler.
AND: The Atlantic Monthly drops Attorney-General elect Chris Koster as potential Democratic candidate, calling him one of two major candidates.
"Chris Koster, the state's attorney general, has also spoken to Democrats about a bid," writes Marc Ambinder.