Yesterday, two Democratic senators unexpectedly announced that they would not seek reelection in 2010: Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Chris Dodd of Connecticut. As I wrote in the Weekly Pulse this morning, the two announcements probably cancel each other out in terms of Democratic senate seats.
Dorgan's seat is probably an easy pickup for the GOP. As a 30-year incumbent, Dorgan was probably the only Democrat who could win a Senate race in deep red North Dakota. Whereas, Chris Dodd's resignation greatly increases that chances that Democrats will hang on to a senate seat in heavily Democratic Connecticut. Dodd is personally unpopular for his role in the financial crisis, so getting him out of the way is a boon to Democrats.
TPMDC has brand new figures from Public Policy Polling:
Dodd and Blumenthal were each tested against the three Republican candidates: Former Rep. Rob Simmons, former Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, and financial analyst and Ron Paul activist Peter Schiff. Dodd trailed Simmons by 44%-40%, was tied 43%-43% with McMahon, and led Schiff by 44%-37%. By contrast, Blumenthal leads Simmons by 59%-28%, is ahead of McMahon by 60%-28%, and leads Schiff by 63%-23%.
The added silver lining in Connecticut is that state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced that he will run for the seat as a Democrat. Blumenthal is a crusader for reproductive rights. He led a coalition of states to sue the Bush administration for expanded "conscience clause" rules that would have allowed HHS employees to deny care that violated their religious mores. He also successfully sued the federal government to enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in the late nineties.