Connecticut Sen. Dodd retiring

A senator for almost 30 years, Dodd would have faced a tough reelection fight

By Alex Koppelman
Published January 6, 2010 1:44PM (EST)

Looks like Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., will have some company in his retirement: Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., will reportedly announce later Wednesday that he's not seeking reelection after almost 30 years in the Senate.

On the surface, these retirements might both look bad for Democrats, but the situations are actually quite different. Dorgan's decision not to run again means the party is likely to lose a seat it had a good shot at holding, but Dodd's is actually good news, electorally, for the Democratic Party.

Connecticut's a blue enough state that, theoretically, a Democrat running for Senate in it should be the heavy favorite. (Joe Lieberman is, of course, a special case, but just remember -- there are reasons he hasn't just become a Republican, and this is one of them.) But despite his long career in the Senate, Dodd was going to face a tough fight this year due to his own personal issues, mainly stemming from his chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee: He's been hit hard by reports of a loan he got through a VIP program at Countrywide Financial, his involvement in the bailouts and questions about a vacation home he owns in Ireland.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is expected to announce -- at a press conference that will follow Dodd's by only half an hour -- that he'll be seeking the Democratic nomination in the incumbent's place. A veteran of statewide Connecticut politics, Blumenthal will immediately become the front-runner in the race.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2010 Elections Christopher Dodd D-conn.