Dodd set to retire, and Governor Ritter (D-CO) plans to bow out

On Dodd’s retirement:

Embattled Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) has scheduled a press conference at his home in Connecticut Wednesday at which he is expected to announce he will not seek re-election, according to sources familiar with his plans.

Dodd’s retirement comes after months of speculation about his political future, and amid faltering polling numbers and a growing sense among the Democratic establishment that he could not win a sixth term. It also comes less than 24 hours after Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced he would not seek re-election.

Without Dodd as a foil, Republicans chances of taking over a seat in this solidly blue state are considerably diminished. Former Rep. Rob Simmons and wealthy businesswoman Linda McMahon are battling it out for the Republican nod but either would start as an underdog in a general election matchup with Blumenthal.

Yep – so don’t get your hopes up about this particular race. Dodd dropping out actually helps Democrats. As ST reader GWR remarked earlier this morning, “CT is a top to bottom deep blue state, so any non-tainted Dem should win there.”

In other falling-on-the-sword-for-their-party news, Colorado’s Democrat Governor is scheduled to announce his withdrawal from the hotly contested Governor’s race later today:

Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to announce Wednesday that he will withdraw from the race for governor, numerous sources close to Ritter confirmed Tuesday night.

Ritter began making calls to other prominent Colorado Democrats around 6 p.m. notifying them of his decision. Sources said his office contacted key legislators asking them to be available for an 11 a.m. press conference where Ritter will make his announcement.

Ritter’s decision, which was first reported by a blog affiliated with Congressional Quarterly, was confirmed by The Denver Post and others.


Polls have shown that Ritter is trailing Republican and former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis in the race. His departure would clear the way for popular Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter or others to enter the race for governor.

This is one I wouldn’t put in the “leans Republican” category at the moment. It’s not like the situation with Dorgan, whose state is conservative, yet it’s not like Dodd’s state, either, which is reliably liberal. I’d put this one in the “toss-up” category. For now, anyway.

Update – 9:19 AM: Not as widely reported as Dodd’s, Dorgan’s, and Ritter’s exits but nevertheless still interesting was the decision by Michigan’s Lt. Gov. John Cherry to drop out of the race to replace outgoing Dem. Governor Jennifer Granholm. Cherry was considered the frontrunner, but exited out of the race yesterday, citing fundraising problems (ahem). Like the Dodd retirement, this will likely help Democrats going into the fall elections, even though Cherry trailed badly behind three Republican candidates in recent polling. For whatever reasons, Michigan residents still trust Democrats even though that party has almost literally run that state into the ground.

It’s frigid outside, but the 2010 elections are definitely heating up. Stay tuned …

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