JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, of Missouri, will not be making a comeback bid in 2012. Talent said Thursday he has decided not to challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who defeated him in 2006. Instead, Talent says he plans to continue his private-sector work on national security policies and hopes to aid former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney if he makes a presidential bid. Talent’s decision opens the way for several other Republicans who have been considering the race. Former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman already has announced her candidacy. Others Republicans considering the race are U.S. Rep. Sam Graves of northwest Missouri, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of southeast Missouri, former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner and St. Louis attorney Ed Martin, who lost a close race for Congress last year.