Senator Chris Dodd, a Capitol Hill fixture whose popularity in Connecticut nosedived over the past year, is set to announce Wednesday that he won't run for reelection in 2010. Dodd has been running way behind both of his prospective GOP opponents for months and is finally stepping aside. That will come as a relief to Democrats, giving them a chance to hold onto his seat with a more formidable candidate, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
Just ahead of Dodd in the exit line was North Dakota's Byron Dorgan who surprised everyone Tuesday when he announced he would not run in 2010. Dorgan's retirement -- no doubt to the lucrative practice of Congressional lobbying -- isn't such good news for his fellow Democrats. More likely than not in the political climate shaping up for 2010, his seat will go to the Republicans, particularly if popular GOP Gov. John Hoeven decides to run for it.
And in a lamentable blow to the fortunes of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter will announce Wednesday that he's not running again, after only one term. Ritter had been widely seen as the sort of Western centrist Democrat who could help build the party's appeal in the mountain states. But facing an uphill race against former GOP Rep. Scott McInnis, Ritter is cashing in his chips early.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, the Democrats' best hope to hold onto the governorship there, Lt. Gov. John Cherry, is dropping out. Gov. Jennifer Granholm is barred by term limits from running again. In any case, her popularity with voters has cratered, opening up an opportunity for Republicans that just got a further boost from Cherry.
And if that were not enough bad news in a couple of days for Democrats, a new poll shows the GOP contender in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in deep blue Massachusetts is running only nine points behind the Democrat!
With at least four House Democrats already retiring before the 2010 midterms, Democrats may have good reason to worry that the latest announcements by Dodd, Dorgan and Ritter will spur a flood of incumbent Democrats heading for the exits and persuade competitive Democratic candidates for open seats to stand down, as expectations grow for a big GOP gain next November.
What do you think? Post a comment.