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Tilting at Windmills

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January 6, 2010

FILLING THE VOID IN CONNECTICUT.... And just like that, Republicans' chances of winning the Senate seat in Connecticut go from very good to very bad.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says he will seek to succeed fellow Democrat Christopher Dodd in the U.S. Senate.

Blumenthal tells The Associated Press that he will announce his candidacy at noon Wednesday at Democratic headquarters in Hartford.

Dodd's announcement is expected at 12 noon (ET). Blumenthal will kick off his campaign around 12:01.

Now, I realize that this, to a certain extent, may seem a little rude to Dodd. He is, after all, ending a rather extraordinary career, and deserves some time in the spotlight when announcing his departure. But my sense is that Dodd doesn't mind Blumenthal quickly jumping in -- after all, Dodd is retiring specifically because he's putting his constituents' and the country's interests above his own. The goal here is for Blumenthal, a popular statewide official, to immediately fill the void.

Blumenthal will be a strong favorite against a relatively weak Republican field, which includes a former wrestling executive and a former Republican congressman who lost in 2006. GOP leaders who crowed about Dodd's retirement are no doubt disappointed to see a key opportunity suddenly appear far less likely.

As a few emailers noted this morning, Blumenthal, prior to yesterday, had made no secret of the fact that he intended to challenge Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) in 2012, If Blumenthal runs and wins this year, what happens to the Senate race two years from now? Sources tell me that Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is the most likely competitor, and would be well positioned as a strong Lieberman opponent.

Steve Benen 10:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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Comments

Um, it's not "rude." Blumenthal wouldn't be announcing today without careful coordination with Dodd and the Democratic leadership. This was clearly planned to present a unified, seamless Democratic face.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, there's no rule that says Blumenthal can't win the 2010 election and then run for the 2012 seat just to spite Lieberman. Obviously he can't hold both seats at once, but he could win Lieberman's and then resign his own.

It's such a glorious dick move that I can't believe no one's ever tried it. And what more deserving target than Lieberman? I bet the voters would go for it.

Posted by: Matt on January 6, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Surely Ned Lamont's hat will be in the ring in 2012 - He could beat Murphy in a primary race - And easily oust Lieberman this time.

Posted by: Mimi on January 6, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

I think that Blumenthal has a better chance of taking the office this way than to run against Lieberman (I-AETNA).

As much as I dislike LIEberman and want to see him replaced, he won with mostly Republican and senior support and I'm afraid that would happen again.

I also think that Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) actually has a better chance against Lieberman.

Posted by: wbn on January 6, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

What a relief. I was afraid Republicans would gain a seat in NE. The other seat up in 2010 (NH) still looks like a hold, unfortunately.

Posted by: PeakVT on January 6, 2010 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Comment debugger says...

It's such a glorious dick move that I can't believe a Republican hasn't tried it.
Posted by: Comment debugger on January 6, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Blumenthal will easily hold Dodd's seat, and LIEberman will easily be knocked off when the time comes by whoever the Democrats nominate. He made and broke pretty specific promises to the Democrats who were stupid enough to vote for him, and they will exact their belated revenge for the betrayal.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on January 6, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised no one is mentioning State Treasurer Denise Nappier as a candidate to challenge Lieberman in 2012. She is young, charismatic, and popular statewide (unlike Lamont, whose popularity among us netroots-types was never matched in the general population, or Murphy, who would have to boost his name recognition statewide).

Oh, and, PeakVT, what makes you so sure that the GOP will hold onto the NH seat? I'd still call that one a tossup; it's a long way to November, and Kelly Ayotte is something of a political novice with gaffe-prone tendencies. Furthermore, she'll be bruised after a primary campaign with far-right-winger Ovide Lamontagne, while Paul Hodes can boost his name recognition and sail into the general election unscathed. But, I do agree with you that Hodes is not a dynamic candidate. I think we would have a surefire win if former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand were our candidate. He's a solid progressive, and he needs to go on to higher office at some point!

Posted by: The Caped Composer on January 6, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

"after all, Dodd is retiring specifically because he's putting his constituents' and the country's interests above his own." Senator Dodd is a Statesman; has provided great legislation to Connecticut and the rest of America; Another door will open for him that will allow his great ability to serve America and Americans.

Posted by: MLJohnston on January 6, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats face a potential disaster. If they loose a seat the Republicans will prevent the Senate from doing any business for years. The filibuster threshold must be reduced to 55 or abolished.

As for Doff - if he had served the people of Connecticut half as well as he served the finance and insurance corporations he would have been reelectionable.

Posted by: Tom R on January 6, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK
Hey, there's no rule that says Blumenthal can't win the 2010 election and then run for the 2012 seat just to spite Lieberman. Obviously he can't hold both seats at once, but he could win Lieberman's and then resign his own.
In 1986, Kent Conrad was elected to the U.S. Senate from North Dakota. He pledged not to run for reelection in 1992 if the federal budget deficit had not fallen by then. It hadn't, so he kept his pledge. Byron Dorgan won the Democratic primary for Conrad's seat. In September, North Dakota's other senator, Quentin Burdick, died. Conrad figured something along the lines of "Hey, I promised not to run for reelection to my own seat, but I didn't promise not to run for the other seat." Burdick's widow was appointed to the seat on a temporary basis, and a special election was held. Both Conrad and Dorgan were elected. Following the election, Conrad resigned his own seat, and then was sworn in to the Burdick seat. The governor then appointed Senator-elect Dorgan to the vacant Conrad seat, giving him a leg up in seniority over other senators-elect who were due to be sworn in the following month. Conrad won election to a full term in 1994.

No, it's not the same scenario as Matt described. But kinda similar in a way.

Posted by: navamske on January 6, 2010 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

@The Caped Composer - I don't think it's hopeless for Hodes. But I think that flipping the entire delegation in the span of 6 years (plus the entire state government) would be pretty amazing.

Posted by: PeakVT on January 6, 2010 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Dodd is retiring specifically because he's putting his constituents' and the country's interests above his own.

Yeah that and the charges he's facing.

Posted by: Dodd on January 6, 2010 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Dodd,
You can't back that up with any facts, right?
Stupid effing trolls pollute Steve's site too, eh?

F*tard.

Posted by: vermontdave on January 7, 2010 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK
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