Missouri Republican senator Kit Bond, 69, will not run for reelection in 2010. His departure creates a vacancy in a key swing state, where a Democrat, Claire McCaskill, holds the other Senate seat. This open seat will no doubt set off a feeding frenzy in both parties. However, on the Democratic side, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, member of a well-known Missouri dynasty, is probably the front runner if she wants the job.
Hardball host Chris Matthews spent some time thinking about running against Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), but ultimately decided not to run. Nevertheless, the Democrats have a deep bench in Pennsylvania. Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) would be the strongest candidate, but if he is not interested, there are at least half a dozen Democratic congressmen who may soon test the waters.
Senate Republicans are refusing to seat Al Franken. In addition, the President-elect Barack Obama's seat is also currently vacant pending some resolution of the appointment of Roland Burris to it by the scandal-plagued governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich (D). As a consequence, the current Senate is 57 Democrats and 41 Republicans even though it is likely to end up 59 Democrats and 41 Republicans. Nevertheless, Republicans are insisting on allocating committee slots now and they are claiming 41/98-ths of them even though later they will entitled to only 41/100-ths of them. On some committees, this flips one seat. Once such committee is judiciary, which will vote to confirm or reject Eric Holder for attorney general, and which currently has a 9-9 split between the parties. Politico has more on this.