Chris Cilizza reporting on Dodd, with his retirement possibly helping Dems keep the seat, according to those in the know, with a side note on Lieberman getting a serious 2012 challenger. That is, if he doesn’t go Republican by then. Still, this is a sad end for Sen. Dodd who as chairman of the Senate banking committee became a lightning rod over the stimulus, along with PR trouble from the VIP Countrywide loans, as well as when he did the Obama administration a solid by putting a loophole in the stimulus bill to pay AIG bonuses, only to have it come back to bite him hard.
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.
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is widely expected to step into the void filled by Dodd and, at least at first blush, should drastically increase Democrats’ chances of holding the seat.
Blumenthal, who has served as state Attorney General since 1990, is the most popular politician in the state and has long coveted a Senate seat; he had already signaled that he would run for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) in 2012. (A sidenote: Assuming Blumenthal gets in to the race, Rep. Chris Murphy could be the long-term beneficiary as he is widely regarded as a rising star and would be at the top of the list of Democratic hopefuls to challenge Lieberman in 2012.) …
Sen. Byron Dorgan, who recently got a huge disappointment on Dems pushing him on his drug importation provision in the Senate health care bill, announced late on Tuesday that he’s also retiring. This is a real loss.
But the most intriguing tidbit right now is the possibility that Harold Ford Jr. might take on Kristen Gillibrand in New York. Joe Scarborough teased Ford about this last month on “Morning Joe,” though Ford said he wasn’t running for anything yet, which seems to still be the case. Betting on the African American vote, no doubt, but he’s evidently also got some elite Dem powerhouse backers also flirting with him, with the hopes of tapping a national wave as well. The New York Times covers all of this today:
About a dozen high-profile Democrats have expressed interest in backing a candidacy by Mr. Ford, including the financier Steven Rattner, who, along with his wife, Maureen White, has been among the country’s most prolific Democratic fund-raisers.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has publicly tangled with Ms. Gillibrand, is open to the possibility of supporting a challenger of Mr. Ford’s stature, according to those familiar with his thinking.
Mr. Ford, from the DLC, would obviously be running to Gillibrand’s right in the primary, if he gets in. Remembering his failed run in Tennessee, with Corker pulling out all the stops on race, it didn’t take Ford long to get married and move to a friendlier state. He’s nothing if not highly ambitious, though I wonder if New York’s big enough for he and Sen. Schumer.