Chris Dodd retires; Democrats dropping like flies

January 6, 2010

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd has become the latest seasoned democrat to elect not to run for re-election. He joins two other high profile Democrats that are deciding to retire in 2010 as opposed to campaigning.

Embattled Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) has scheduled a press conference at his home in Connecticut Wednesday at which he is expected to announce he will not seek re-election, according to sources familiar with his plans.

Connecticut is still a solidly blue state and without the option to attack Dodd’s record, the chance that the state will switch parties is minimal, but you may still want to practice saying Senator Linda McMahon just in case.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is widely expected to step into the void filled by Dodd and, at least at first blush, should drastically increase Democrats’ chances of holding the seat.

Blumenthal, who has served as state Attorney General since 1990, is the most popular politician in the state and has long coveted a Senate seat; he had already signaled that he would run for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) in 2012. (A sidenote: Assuming Blumenthal gets in to the race, Rep. Chris Murphy could be the long-term beneficiary as he is widely regarded as a rising star and would be at the top of the list of Democratic hopefuls to challenge Lieberman in 2012.)

Dodd’s political problems were further compounded later in 2008 when it was reported that he had been included in a special VIP mortgage loan program by Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Dodd insisted he was unaware of his inclusion and he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Senate Ethics Committee but the political damage was done.

Once among the safest of incumbents, Dodd’s numbers plummeted in the spring of 2009 before rebounding somewhat over the summer. But, a Quinnipiac University poll conducted late last year showed significant slippage for Dodd and led to widespread speculation that he had to vacate the seat for his party to have a chance at retaining it in the upcoming midterm elections.

This comes 24 hours North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan announced he would not run for reelection.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced this evening that he’s retiring at the end of his term, a shocking development that threatens Democratic control of his Senate seat next year.

Dorgan was up for re-election in 2010, but the third-term senator wasn’t facing any strong Republican opposition– but was facing the growing possibility of a serious challenge from popular Gov. John Hoeven (R-N.D.).

In his statement, Dorgan said his retirement was borne out of the desire to spend more time with his family.

Things are looking better and better for Republicans in North Dakota, though Connecticut will still be a battle, but there is always Colorado which will have a vacant Colorado Governor’s seat for 2010.

Yep, Bill Ritter will not seek reelection either.

Ritter was elected in a landslide in 2006, and his state’s capital, Denver, hosted the Democratic National Convention and the presidential nomination of Sen. Barack Obama in 2008.

But Ritter’s political fate has dipped considerably in the intervening years, and he faced an extremely difficult re-election race against former Rep. Scott McInnis (R) in November.

“Bill Ritter was literally the weakest incumbent in nearly 50 years and his own party was unenthusiastic at best for his reelection,” said Colorado Republican party chairman Dick Wadhams. “Colorado has certainly changed from that heady day at Invesco Field.”

Democrats are likely to turn to either former state House SpeakerAndrew Romanoff or Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to replace Ritter. Romanoff is currently challenging appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in a Democratic primary and if he could be convinced to switch races would solve two problems for the party. State Treasurer Cary Kennedy and Rep. Ed Perlmutter are also mentioned as potential Democratic candidates.

Colorado is now the eleventh open seat Democrats must defend this year although the other ten seats are being vacated as a result of term limits. Republicans also have eleven open seats of their own to defend. There are 37 governors races on the ballot this fall.

Colorado has been a decidedly purple state over the past few election cycles but it has been trending blue as the state becomes more populated. Republicans used to hold 5 Congressional seats, both Senate seats and went for Republicans in 96, 2000 and 2004. But Obama/Biden won the state by about 200k worth of votes.  This election cycle could prove to be a turning point for Republicans in this state. If they could make pick ups and hold what they have, this state could be turned around. But if they fail to do that, the state may be lost to the Democrats for a long while.

This should be the start of the dominoes; expect more high profile – long standing Democrats to drop from the race like flies too. Democrat incumbents sensing a close election and a strong challenger may take the easier road in retirement than choose to spend the next year campaigning for a spot the could lose anyways. Even though Michael Steele may not think the GOP is read/able to begin an attempt to take over the government, it looks like they’ll have their chance at one.


One comment

  1. […] GayPatriot: Good News for the Democratic Party (& the 112th Congress) The Mud Rack: Chris Dodd retires, Democrats dropping like flies Ed Driscoll: Dodd Overboard […]

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