2010 Mid-Term Senate Race - Connecticut
Over the next year or so I'll do updates on the 2010 mid-term elections. Most of the updates will be of senate races though a few key or surprising house races may get some attention.
The first, surprisingly concerns a long time incumbent - Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut. Normally, senate incumbent are safe particularly in states that consistently vote for the incumbent's political party. Such is the case with Sen. Dodd. Next year he will be finishing his fifth full term in the senate representing a state that has fairly reliably voted Democrat. However, Sen. Dodd has been under a major ethical cloud over the past year and now appears particularly vulnerable.
Exacerbating Dodd's problems is that his perceived ethical lapses are easily connected to our current economic troubles. As the mortgage industry was falling apart creating a headache for the entire credit market, it was revealed that Dodd received a special, below market rate, mortgage from Countrywide Financial. Even if one was inclined to give Dodd the benefit of doubt (which I'm not) it is hard to imagine the powerful Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee receiving a special loan as anything but a serious conflict of interest if not tantamount to a bribe. That is just the tip of the iceberg of troubles for Dodd. Last week he looked and acted guilty in the back and forth over who modified the "Stimulus" bill to ensure the AIG executives received bonuses. That was quickly used in commercials harping on the fact that Dodd and President Obama were the largest recipients of AIG campaign donations. Here is a link to an article detailing some of his other scandals including a shady deal for a mansion in Ireland.
Current projection: 70% chance for Republican pick up unless Dodd doesn't run for reelection. If Dodd decides not to run again then I'd rate this a safe Dem retention.
Trivia: The last time a "Republican" won a U.S. Senate seat from Connecticut it was after Dodd's father chose not to run for reelection after his own ethical lapses. Hmmm, what's that they say about apples not falling far from trees?