Missouri’s senior senator, Christopher Bond, says he will not run for a fifth term.
Bond’s announcement has been made in a speech at the Capitol. Shortly before he made the announcement he met with the legislature’s Republican caucus.
Bond, who is called "Kit" by close associates and most of his constituents, will be 70 on March 29. He has been in public service for most of the last forty years, beginning as an assistant attorney general under John Danforth in 1969 after an unsuccessful run for northeast Missouri’s seat in the U. S. House in 1968. Bond was elected state Auditor in 1970 and gave up the job two years later when he was elected the state’s youngest Governor at the age of 33.
His inauguration in 1973 provoked a mild controversy when the it was announced the cost of the heated platform in front of the capitol where the swearing-in would take place, the bandstand in the rotunda for the inaugural ball, and the reviewing stand for the inaugural parade cost $11,000. Later, during that firt term, another controversy arose when the costs of replacing an old bathroom in the Governor’s Mansion were measured in the tens of thousands of dollars. The renovation of the bathroom was only a small part of the massive restoration of the century-old house (at the time) undertaken by First Lady Carolyn Bond that restored the house to the pre-1900 appearance that visitors see today.
Bond was a rising young star in the Republican Party and was on Gerald Ford’s list of possible running mates in 1976..That was the year that Bond suffered a devastating loss in his re-election campaign against Joseph Teasdale. He worked for the Great Plains Legal Foundation while he was out of office and was instrumental and worked closely with the Republican Party to restructure its statewide campaign structure. When he ran for his second term in 1980, he defeated Teasdale by a margin ten times greater than Teasdale’s victory margin in ’76.
In his first term as Governor, Bond convened a Second Little Hoover Commission, a special commission modeled after a federal government reorganization body headed by former president Herbert Hoover. The Missouri commission realigned state government, which had been dozens of independent agencies, into a state departments and divisions according to their responsibilities. His youth sometimes brought criticism from senior politicians in the Capitol including some from his own party. One veteran Republican Senator referred to him one day as "Kid" Bond.
In his second term, Bond–then a new father to his son Sam–was instrumental in establishing Missouri’s Parents as Teachers Program. The program became a national model and the basis for several early childhood education programs.
In 1986, Bond became the only Republican nationally to win a Senate seat that had previously been held by a Democrat, succeeding Thomas Eagleton. He has been a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee for many years and is now its senior Republican member. He also has been recognized for his extensive efforts to bring more federal highway funding to Missouri.
Bond and former First Lady Carolyn Bond divorced several years ago. He has since remarried. His son, Sam, is a Marine Corps officer.
Bond is a native of Mexico and still maintains a home there. He graduated from Princeton University and got his law degree from the University of Virginia, graduating first in his class. He was a lw clerk for the Chief Judge of the Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta before returning to Missouri.
Bond had to withstand a court challenge of his residency when he ran for Governor in 1972. The challenge, filed by State Representative R. J. (Bus) King of St. Louis, who also sought the Republican nomination, was finally decided by the Missouri Supreme Court. A key piece of evidence of Bond’s continued residency in Missouri despite his education and work experience in the east, was a state conservation department fishing license.