Connecticut senior senator Chris Dodd, who had trailed potential Republican challengers Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon in his bid for re-election, has decided to retire. Dodd becomes the second senator in as many days to announce he will not seek re-election (joining North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan), and his announcement likely paves the way for attorney general Richard Blumenthal to announce his candidacy:
The most recent Quinnipiac University poll, conducted in November, showed Dodd trailing former GOP congressman Rob Simmons by double-digits and trailing former WWE CEO Linda McMahon by a smaller margin. Even the senator’s own internal polling showed him trailing Simmons – an ominous sign for a well-known incumbent.While the Obama administration worked last year on Dodd’s behalf—including fundraisers headlined by both the president and vice-president—White House aides were long convinced that the senator was the political equivalent of a dead man walking.
With poll after poll showing Dodd trailing, it became increasingly clear that his candidacy was not salvageable. A senior Democratic official said Dodd’s long-rumored, and always-denied, retirement plans were “inevitable – like gravity.”
Still, a source familiar with Dodd’s plans insisted late Tuesday that there was no pressure exerted on Dodd from the White House to back down.
A top national Democrat said Blumenthal’s candidacy was all but certain.
Not terribly surprising given the uphill battle he faced. Next up: Lieberman?