Breaking News: Two Democrat Senators Announce Decision Not to Run for Reelection
2010 has been shaping up to be a tough year for the Democratic party. Voter anger over the excessive "stimulus" spending, fear of the threatened health care "reform" and the high unemployment added to the normal mid-term election environment had the Republicans salivating at the thought of large gains in the House of Representative and hopeful to pick up a few senate seats. A few congressmen viewed the difficult landscape and decided not to run for reelection. Yesterday there was some more potentially good news as Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) both decided not to seek another term. While it is always difficult to unseat an incumbent, Dodd was seen as especially vulnerable as he has been embroiled in a couple high profile scandals over the last couple years. Dodd's decision not to run actually makes it less likely that the Republicans will pick up that seat. Connecticut is a fairly liberal state and a fresh Democratic face without Dodd's ethical baggage and who doesn't have to defend votes made in the current congress will be tougher to beat. By comparison, North Dakota actually becomes easier for the Republicans without an incumbent in the race. Even though North Dakota is a Republican leaning state, Dorgan is personally popular and this would have been a difficult gain unless a high profile Republican like the current governor entered the race. Now, I'd rate this a likely Republican pick up regardless of whether Governor John Hoeven runs.
Separately, I wonder how much Democratic leadership leaned on Dodd to retire? Unlike Dorgan, Dodd would likely have influenced more races than just his own. With Dodd's various ethical lapses, and individual Republicans likely to be running against the Dem majority as much as against their personal opponent, I expected that he would join Harry Reid as the focus of ads in states besides his own.
Regardless of whether Connecticut voters replace Dodd with a Republican or just elect some other Democrat the next congress will be more decent and more ethical for his absence. Hopefully, the state of Connecticut has gotten over their fixation with the Dodd family. Like father, like son, nearly forty years ago it took a scandal to get Dodd's crooked father to retire from the senate. Wonder if we can talk Chris Dodd into further emulating his father and get him to change his mind and run as an independent thereby splitting the Dem vote resulting in a Republican win.