JEFFERSON CITY — Former Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Talent said Tuesday that he won't make a political comeback bid for Missouri's open Senate seat in 2010.
Talent had been considering the race after Republican Sen. Kit Bond's announcement last month that he will not seek re-election to a fifth term.
But Talent issued a statement Tuesday through the Missouri Republican Party saying he is withdrawing his name from consideration. He cited party unity and his work.
"First, there are other qualified Republicans who are seriously investigating the race, and it is vital to prevent the kind of dissension that hurt my party's ticket so greatly in 2008," said Talent, referring to a contentious gubernatorial primary last year between U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof and Treasurer Sarah Steelman.
Hulshof won the Republican primary but got solidly defeated in the general election by then-Attorney General Jay Nixon, a Democrat.
This year, Steelman and U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt both are seriously considering a Senate race to succeed Bond.
Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan already has declared her Senate candidacy.
Talent served four years in the Senate before losing in 2006 to Democrat Claire McCaskill. He also previously served in the U.S. House and the Missouri House.
Besides party unity, Talent also cited the potential campaign disruptions to his family and his work when he announced he would not enter the Senate race. Talent is vice chairman of the federal Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which he said is working to prevent a nuclear or biological attack on the United States.
Talent said in his statement that his political priority in 2010 will be electing a strong Republican to replace Bond, but he did not endorse any particular candidate.