The race to replace U.S. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri) could go down in the books as one of the state’s costliest.

Bond announced last week he would not seek re-election in 2010, giving up the seat he has held since 1986.

“Every member of the state’s U.S. House delegation is apt to give serious thought to running for the open Senate seat. On the Democratic side, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is probably first in line to get her party’s nomination,” says Peverill Squire, the Griffiths Endowed Chair of political science at the University of Missouri. “She had already thought running against

Sen. Bond, and given her experience and family name, she will be a strong candidate.”

Squire says the Republicans do not have an obvious front runner, but they have a number of plausible candidates, and there is a good chance that the political pendulum may swing a bit back in their direction in two years.

Among those Squire pointed to that the Republicans might rally around are: U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Squire adds that we’ll have to wait and see which high-profile candidate the republicans will put throw into the ring, but that the republicans “may be in for an interesting contest.”

“Right now the republicans hold the seat,” Squire says, “and it appears that they’re losing seats overall in the senate, so this is one they’re going to want to keep in their hands and the democrats obviously sense that Missouri may be drifting in their direction and it may be an opportunity to pick up another republican seat. So I think both parties see the seat in mo as a seat that they can capture and both parties are going to make sure that their candidates have the best resources to be competitive in the race.”

After the recent presidential election and a multitude of other state-wide races, many kept close tabs on who spent what before Nov. 7. Squire says Missourians can expect another deluge of political ads from those vying for Bond’s seat, but that the electioneering shouldn’t as quite as exhaustive.

“I think given that this will be a midterm election and the senate race will be the hot contest on the ballot people may not burn out on it to the extent that they may have during the presidential election when there was so much going on,” Squire says.

Currently there are 58 democrats and 41 republicans in the U.S. Senate. (There are two independents, which typically vote alongside the democrats.)

Squire joined the MU Department of Political Science in 2007. He holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He is co-editor of Legislative Studies Quarterly and specializes in American politics and legislative studies.