James Matthes "Jim" Talent (born October 18, 1956) is an American politician and former Senator from Missouri. He is a Republican and resided in the St. Louis area while serving in elected office. He identifies with the conservative wing of the Republican party, being particularly outspoken on judicial appointments, abortion, flag burning, and defense issues. After serving for eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives and then working as a lobbyist, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, narrowly defeating Democrat Jean Carnahan in a special election to complete the term to which Carnahan's husband, Mel, had been elected posthumously in 2000. In the Democratic wave of November 2006, Talent narrowly lost his re-election bid to Claire McCaskill, 50% to 47%. Talent was a senior adviser to Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign, and is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
Talent grew up in a middle-class family in Des Peres, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. His father, Milton O. Talent, was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants and was the first in his family to go to college, graduating from Harvard Law School. Jim Talent's mother, Marie F. Matthes, was an independent court reporter who was raised on a small farm near DeSoto, Missouri. Her German ancestors had settled in Jefferson County, Missouri beginning in 1832.
Jim Talent graduated from Kirkwood High School in 1973. He earned his B.A. in political science from Washington University in St. Louis, graduating with the Arnold J. Lien Prize as the most outstanding undergraduate in political science. Jim graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Chicago Law School, receiving his J.D. in 1981. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Before winning political office Talent served as an adjunct professor at the Washington University Law school. He married Brenda Lee Lyons in 1984. The Talents have three children, Katie, Chrissy, and Michael.