Sen. Christopher (Kit) Bond (R)
Elected: 1986, term expires 2010, 4th term.
Born: March 6, 1939, St. Louis .
Education: Princeton U., B.A. 1960, U. of VA, LL.B. 1963.
Family: Married (Linda Pell); 1 child.
Elected office: MO auditor, 1970–72; MO gov., 1972–76, 1980–84.
Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1964–69, 1977–80; MO asst. atty. gen., 1969–70.
Christopher (Kit) Bond, Missouri’s senior senator, was first elected to the Senate in 1986. The 69-year-old Republican stalwart of Missouri politics announced on January 8, 2009, that he would not seek another six-year term. “In 1973, I became Missouri’s youngest governor,” Bond said. “I do not aspire to become Missouri’s oldest senator.” His retirement was grim news for national Republicans, who, in addition to being fond of the genial Bond, were precariously close to falling below 40 seats in the Senate and handing the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority.
|Christopher (Kit) Bond (R)||1,518,089||(56%)||($7,848,506)|
|Nancy Farmer (D)||1,158,261||(43%)||($3,548,116)|
|Christopher (Kit) Bond (R)||541,998||(88%)|
|Mike Steger (R)||73,354||(12%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 1998 (53%), 1992 (52%), 1986 (53%)
Bond grew up in the town of Mexico, Mo., where he still lives with his wife. His family was part-owner of the largest business in town, A.P. Green, which made heat-resistant bricks. He graduated from Princeton and the University of Virginia law school, and then clerked for one of the great pioneers of the civil-rights movement, Judge Elbert Tuttle of the 5th Circuit in Atlanta. Later, Bond returned to Missouri to practice law, and in 1968, at age 29, he ran for Congress but narrowly lost. He was elected state auditor in 1970 and then elected governor, at age 33, in 1972. He lost his 1976 re-election bid to Democrat Joseph Teasdale but won a comeback victory against Teasdale in 1980. After two years in private life, he ran for the Senate against Harriett Woods, who had come close to beating Bond’s longtime ally, Republican Sen. John Danforth, in 1982. The campaign is best remembered for a negative ad that Woods ran depicting a farmer breaking into tears as he tells Woods about the foreclosure on his farm and names Bond as a board member of the insurance company that handled the foreclosure. The ad backfired, Woods fell in the polls, and Bond won, 53%-47%.
Bond has a moderate voting record in the Senate, and although he can be a strong partisan, he does much of his work behind the scenes in bipartisan alliances. In 2007, he became the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and proceeded to build a cooperative relationship with the committee’s chairman, West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller, whom he had known since they were fellow governors from 1980 through 1984. They agreed to merge the majority and minority staffs and to hold more hearings than in the past.
Bond supported the George W. Bush administration’s surveillance of suspected terrorists abroad and worked to sustain its position in bills before the Senate. In August 2007, he and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky sponsored a bill to authorize such surveillance without a special court order, while Democrats pressed for requiring court approval of surveillance of U.S. citizens or individuals living in the United States. In October 2007, Bond and Rockefeller passed a bill in committee that required prior court approval of the terms of such surveillance and granted immunity from lawsuits to telecommunications companies that cooperated with government requests for surveillance. The House passed a different version of the immunity provision, and in early 2008, Bond and Rockefeller worked out a compromise with House leaders: A federal court would grant immunity if it determined that the telecom firms acted on assurances of legality and authorization by the president. This version, slightly altered, was passed into law in July 2008.
In other recent issues before the committee, Bond was a staunch defender of the nomination of Michael Hayden as Bush’s director of the Central Intelligence Agency and pushed for more authority for the director of national intelligence. He also sponsored a bill with criminal penalties for government employees or contractors who leak classified information. In 2007, he lamented the intelligence agencies’ inability to give senators “an unqualified financial statement.”
Bond is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and for years has been chairman of or ranking member on the panel’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. There, he has worked in a generally bipartisan way with Democrats Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Patty Murray of Washington state. In 2007, he and Murray opposed the Bush administration proposal to borrow $3.2 billion from mass transit funds to replenish the Highway Trust Fund. They favored using $8 billion of general funds instead, but the House declined to act. In 2008, Bond led the unsuccessful opposition to zeroing-out a pilot program allowing long-haul Mexican trucks to operate in the United States. Working in tandem with black community leaders in St. Louis and Kansas City over the years, Bond has taken a particular interest in housing issues that have come before the committee and has sponsored many amendments aiding inner-city organizations and encouraging small-business growth in troubled urban areas. In the 110th Congress (2007-08), he opposed administration cuts in housing subsidies, and he and Murray put $75 million more into their spending bill for shelters for homeless veterans.
Bond has also been active on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, working to continue operation of Boeing’s F-15 production line at its plant next to the St. Louis airport. In 2004, he got $120 million for two more F-15s, which kept the production line open until 2008. In October 2007, he and then-Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama called for a full accounting of troops who seek psychological help and questioned whether Veterans Affairs was inappropriately denying benefits to veterans by classifying their medical conditions as “pre-existing personality disorders.”
He’s done plenty of other work on Appropriations to help Missouri and is a stout defender of earmarks, the additional spending that lawmakers slip into appropriations bills for projects in their districts or states. In 2008, Bond obtained some $310 million in earmarks, or, as he prefers to call them, “strategic investments” for Missouri. The state is home to auto assembly plants, and Bond has frequently teamed with Michigan senators to help domestic automakers in their struggle to compete with the Japanese. In November 2008, he co-sponsored a bill to provide up to $25 billion in loans to rescue the Big Three automakers, which claimed to be on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of the nationwide credit crisis. The legislation had majority support in the Senate but failed because of a filibuster. Hoping to ward off a gathering political movement toward more-stringent fuel-efficiency standards in 2007, Bond and Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan sponsored an amendment to raise the standards to 36 miles per gallon for cars and 30 mpg for trucks by 2025. It was rejected in favor of greater and more-sustained increases in fuel efficiency.
Bond got his political start as a member of a group of young, reform-minded Republicans—his former Senate colleague Danforth was also a member—working against the Democratic political establishment in Missouri, and he can be a strong partisan on occasion. On Election Night 2000, he was furious when St. Louis Democrats persuaded a state judge to order the city’s polls to remain open an extra three hours. An Appeals Court overturned the order within 45 minutes, but Bond maintained that the election had been stolen. Republican Jim Talent lost his bid for governor that year, and GOP Sen. John Ashcroft lost his re-election, both by narrow margins. In Washington, Bond became heavily involved in the election procedures bill in the wake of the 2000 presidential vote-count battle in Florida. The centerpiece of the bill was its national standards for voting equipment coupled with $3.5 million in federal aid for statewide voter registries.
Bond was re-elected 52%-45% in 1992, a year when Missouri Republicans lost every other major race. In 1998, running against Democrat Jay Nixon, then-state attorney general and now governor, he was re-elected 53%-44%. Democrats hoped to target Bond in 2004, but their best candidates did not run. State Treasurer Nancy Farmer stepped forward, but her fundraising fell short and Bond outspent her $8 million to $3.5 million. He lost metro St. Louis, 52%-47%, but he carried usually Democratic metro Kansas City, 51%-48%, and the rest of the state, 67%-33%, for a 56%-43% victory. The 13-point margin was his largest ever in a Senate or gubernatorial race.