Matthews won't run for senate; Bond to retire
For much of the last year, Mr. Matthews had been considering entering the Senate race as a Democrat in his home state at the same time he was renegotiating his contract with NBC News. He had attended several meetings that had included Pennsylvania representatives as well as some major fund-raisers in the Democratic Party.But Mr. Matthews, who was once a top aide to the House speaker, Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts, and ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1974, never formally declared himself a candidate, a decision which would have forced him out of his position at MSNBC.
For much of the last year, Mr. Matthews had been considering entering the Senate race as a Democrat in his home state at the same time he was renegotiating his contract with NBC News. He had attended several meetings that had included Pennsylvania representatives as well as some major fund-raisers in the Democratic Party.
But Mr. Matthews, who was once a top aide to the House speaker, Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts, and ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1974, never formally declared himself a candidate, a decision which would have forced him out of his position at MSNBC.
In an interview in October, Mr. Matthews said, “People have asked me about it. I’ve never told anyone that I’m running.”
There has been speculation that Mr. Matthews, 63, was flirting with a Senate run as a way to give him some leverage in his contract talks. According to at least one earlier report, NBC was planning to ask Mr. Matthews to return but wanted him to take a drastic pay cut — from $5 million a year to an amount closer to $1 million.
Most of the speculation about a Matthews run came from Pennsylvania Democrats which makes the notion that his desire to run for the senate was actually a contract ploy ring a little hollow. Matthews also made no bones about his desire to help President Obama any way he could. This fed speculation about his run even more.
But who knows? In the cutthroat world of TV, it is possible that Matthews led everyone on as a way to get more money out of NBC.
Meanwhile, GOP prospects in 2010 took a hit when incumbent Kit Bond announced he is retiring from the senate
Sen. Kit Bond, the senior Republican from Missouri who sits on powerful Senate committees, announced Thursday that he will not run for reelection in 2010, giving Democrats a shot to pick up a seat in a state that has emerged as a major battleground.
The announcement is a blow to Senate Republicans who may now will have at least four of their incumbents seeking retirement at the end of the session, a sign that 2010 could be another tough cycle for the weakened GOP minority.
In addition to Bond, Sens. Mel Martinez of Florida and Sam Brownback of Kansas are retiring, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas may run for governor of her home state, creating another opening.
In a speech before Missouri’s General Assembly, Bond announced Thursday that after 40 years of public service in the state, he would retire at the end of the 111th Congress.
Florida and Kansas may be less of a problem to hold onto than Texas and especially Missouri. The Show Me state has been trending more Democratic and the GOP will have to find a very strong candidate in order to hold on to it.
In fact, most all of the important races in both the House and Senate in 2010 will depend on the GOP doing a better job at candidate recruitment. It's no secret that 2006 and 2008 saw a failure of the national party to reach down and tap good candidates at the local level who could be competitive in open races as well as attacking vulnerable Democrats.
To this end, RNC Chairman-candidate Michael Steele might just be the man the GOP is looking for. Currently Chairman of GOPAC, a group that specializes in identifying and training GOP candidates for office, Steele would be the ideal guy to substantially improve candidate recruitment and improve the chances for GOP gains in 2010.
Bond, a former governor, came to the senate in 1987 and rose to influence on the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees. He too often used his position on Appropriations to funnel monies to pet projects in Missouri but was otherwise, a fairly reliable conservative vote in the senate. Several Republicans are lining up to replace him including Roy Blount and former senator Jim Talent.
The GOP primary should be very interesting.