A Split Decision In The Senate
As already reported here on TMV two US Senators, both Democrats, have announced they will retire. Chris Dodd of Connecticut has bowed to the inevitable and will retire while Byron Dorgan of North Dakota shocked many with his decision to step down.
This ends up as a split decision for the parties. Dorgan’s retirement is a major blow to the Democrats, the only chance they have of holding that seat is if Congressman Earl Pomeroy decided to run for the Senate and then his House seat would be very vulnerable. If GOP Governor Hoeven enters the race it’s pretty much a lock for the GOP.
On the other hand Dodd’s choice saves a seat for the Democrats. Although the blue nature of Connecticut meant that Dodd always had a shot of winning re-election most polls had shown him trailing his GOP rivals. So at best the seat was a tossup. Now that Dodd is out long time AG Blumenthal (D) will enter the race and that pretty much locks things up for the Democrats unless Governor Rell runs, which seems unlikely.
I suppose you could call it a slight gain for the GOP. Before the decisions were made you had one safe D seat (North Dakota) and one tossup seat that was maybe leaning GOP (Connecticut). Now you have one safe D seat (Connecticut) and one leaning to safe GOP seat (North Dakota).
Also retiring is Colorado governor Ritter (D). It’s hard to say which way this one goes. Ritter is unpopular and had been behind in the polls. His retirement opens things up to more popular Democrats. At the same time whatever Democrat is nominated will have some of the burden of Ritter without the benefit of incumbency. But this is probably a net wash in terms of impact.