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CT-Sen: Simmons Will Challenge Dodd

by: James L.

Mon Mar 16, 2009 at 3:05 AM EDT

It's on:

Former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons said Sunday that he plans to run against Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd.

Simmons said he made the decision to join the race after talking with relatives.

"The family had a long meeting today and was unanimous that I run," he said in an e-mail message to The Associated Press. "So I am running."

This is a pretty huge score for John Cornyn and the NRSC. While Simmons did get washed out (barely) in the 2006 Democratic landslide, he held onto a D+7.6 district for three terms after beating a complacent incumbent, Sam Gejdenson, in 2000. Simmons will bring some serious chops to the table in a state that hasn't seen the GOP field a viable Senate candidate in, well, decades. A recent Q-poll even showed Simmons edging Dodd by a 43-42 margin.

While Dodd will still be considered the early favorite in this deep blue state, this is shaping up to be the most challenging campaign since he began his Senate career. How aggressively Dodd moves to rehabilitate his image and deflect Simmons' scrappy attacks will be of particular interest in the coming weeks -- and months.

(Hat-tip: trowaman)

James L. :: CT-Sen: Simmons Will Challenge Dodd
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I know it won't happen...
I just wish Dodd would retire gracefully and let Joe Courtney or Chris Murphy take over.

I still don't buy Simmons as being any real threat.  Early prediction: Dodd 57% Simmons 43%.  I'd be shocked if he comes within 10 points.  Mark Kennedy of 2010.

Mark Kennedy beat David Minge in 2000.

The only other Rep to beat an incumbent D...Simmons, defeating Sam Gejdensen!!!

[ Parent ]
Sure Hope
I sure hope you're right, but I cannot shake a bad feeling about this one.  I've never thought Reid or any of the appointed senators' seats were in danger, but this one concerns me.  I think Connecticut immediately moves to the top of the list for most likely to switch from D to R, even if Dodd is still the favorite.

[ Parent ]
Your prediction sounds about right
Simmons is actually older than Dodd, and Dodd has been in the senate for nearly 30 years.  I can't imagine that Simmons will fare well against Dodd either.  I think Simmons' support is soft, while Dodd's recent polling is more of a spike downward, as opposed to a trend.

If the GOP had a younger candidate that had some moderate views and had some strong experience, I'd be worried.  Simmons is more of a retread to me.

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
Totally agree
I don't see the long-term panic.

30, male, Democratic, CO-01

[ Parent ]
I don't buy people not buying Dodd being in serious jeopardy.  You are doing so at our peril.  I would say without a doubt right now, Dodd will lose his seat.  I can't see him being able to do anything to save it.  He just looks horrible.  Moderates and Conservatives blame him and Frank for the Mortgage mess (Wrongly of course, but nonetheless) and Liberals are still wondering why the hell he ran for President?  Barring Simmons being a horrible candidate or Dodd retiring or being primaried, this seat is gone.


The election is seventeen and a half months out
I understand bellyaching over Corzine at this point, but Chris freakin' Dodd?  The man is an institution.  We need to wait for A LOT more polling data before concluding that we're in serious danger here.

Male, 23, DC-At Large

[ Parent ]
"moderates" blame Dodd?
Moderates blame Bush and the bankers.  Conservatives don't even hone in on Dodd preferring Clinton and Obama.  This may be different in Connecticut but he really is a minor figure and the Countryside scandal was what a year ago?

[ Parent ]
Low-Info voters
It wouldn't surprise me at all if Connecticut had fewer low-info voters than nearly every other state.  Countrywide being a year ago probably doesn't help Dodd too much.  He might be able to pull off a win, but I'll bet he loses in Bridgeport and the Hartford suburbs.  There is no other reason why it would be this close right now.
God I wish Dodd would retire so we can run that AG in his place.

26, D, MO-05, Hispanic

[ Parent ]
That's just laughable
No, our not buying into this being a serious race is not at our own peril.  Dodd is going through what appears to be a tough stretch in public support.  But Simmons is no Jodi Rell republican, he's a bush-bot and with a very conservative record by CT standards.  He's not only going to lose, he's going to get squashed by Dodd.

As I said in the other thread on this race, I'm thrilled at Simmons getting in.  Now the NRSC is going to waste untold millions on a race that is 100% FOOLS GOLD.  No way Simmins breaks 45%.

[ Parent ]
I agree with you
A poll like this will force Dodd to work harder to earn his reelection. But I'm sure he will get reelected. We're at least a year too early to say Dodd should retire. Let's wait until the spring of 2010 and see how well he is polling then.

26, male, Dem, NJ-12

[ Parent ]
Simmons isn't going to beat Dodd
unless there are more scandals that are to come about Dodd.

On the other hand, this is a real challenge which will waste resources that would go to other states which we are playing offense.  

Dodd will have enough $$ w/o DSCC help
Not concerned about the resources: Dodd has always been fine on fund raising and he will continue to be.  Menendez will have more than enough resources to target 8ish Pubs without any difficulty.

[ Parent ]
dodd will be the burns and stevens of 2010
an institution with lots of clout, in a state whose partisan leanings heavily favor him, harmed by accusations of corruption (the mortgage he recieved at better terms than normal).  it will come down to a hair either way.  either he will be the first in the last few cycles to be in these circumstances and win, or he will o down by a few thousand (hundred?) votes like burns and stevens did.  he's vulnerable, but not doomed.  partisan leanings will probably have dodd do better than the polls show (like how burns and especially stevens almost won, despite polls showing them doing much worse.)

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

You don't think that the level of corruption seen in Dodd is anywhere close to what we had with Stevens or even Burns?

22, Democrat, AZ-01
Peace. Love. Gabby.

[ Parent ]
no i don't
but i think that the voters might see it that way.  perception, not truth, is sadly key in this.  

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

[ Parent ]
It's gonna be a stretch
To get voters to perceive that Dodd's relatively issues are equivalent to Stevens' massive corruption of Burns' pension for dropping gaffe after gaffe (with a fair share of corruption thrown in for good measure).

A big part of Stevens' and Burns' undoing was that it was just hit after hit after hit for them. There's no indication at this point that Dodd will have anything worse going on than that picking up and moving to Iowa incident in 2007 and the Countrywide scandal in 2008. If stuff like this keeps rolling out, than sure, the perception will be that Dodd is a crook. But a ton of crap about Patty Murray could start rolling out and people would think that she's a crook as well. The fact that stuff could happen doesn't mean it will.

Most likely, these incidents will just force Dodd to work a little harder and make sure and keep his nose clean, and by the time the election rolls around, these "scandals" will be ancient history.

22, Democrat, AZ-01
Peace. Love. Gabby.

[ Parent ]
Stevens was an institution--I concur
and he was also convicted before the election.  Burns was just a nut who reminded me of Jim Bunning.  Chris Dodds has not been convicted of a crime, and he's been fairly stable, not making too many verbal gaffes that would embarrass his constituents.

Also, Stevens and Dodds were running against younger, more promising candidates in Begich and Tester (Begich is 39 years younger than Stevens, and Tester was 21 years younger than Burns).  Simmons is actually a year older than Dodds.  If the GOP promoted a younger candidate, they might have a chance against Dodds.  Simmons is not the answer.  

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
I know it can be confusing
What with all those s's (Stevens and Burns), but it's Dodd, not Dodds. :)

[ Parent ]
My bad
It is confusing, especially since SimmonS is running against Dodd.  

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

[ Parent ]
I hate these long term senators just getting passes time in and time out, they forget that they are actually elected officials, accountable to the people of their states. Too many senators have been in offices for 20+ years, and have yet to receive a serious challenge. I say as an early predictor, that Dodd will manage to survive, but I say give him a good run for his money. Make him work for it!

Obama & his policy agenda
Connecticut is pretty strong Obama country.  If Obama campaigns for Dodd -- and if Dodd has the $$ and the hardball advertising to paint Simmons as the Bush-conservative Republican that he is -- then Dodd will definitely win.

Remember, right now the polls are a referendum on Dodd, and people aren't happy.  But in the general election, Dodd can make this about Obama's policy agenda, which he supports, and which Simmons will filibuster.  No way 50% of Connecticut wants to install another Republican filibuster-bot in the Senate.  (Some direct campaigning by Obama would help drive home that point.)

Forget 50%
There's no way Simmons is going to break 45% much less 50.  This race is causing the most idiotic hand-wringing I've seen in quite some time.  

Well maybe NY-20 was just as bad.  I said well over a month ago that Murphy was going to win that one and it wasn't even going to be a nailbiter

[ Parent ]
I would suggest
You perhaps step back a minute and reconsider calling your fellow SSPers "idiotic." There are a lot of very smart people on this site, most of whom disagree with you. Now is probably not the time to start digging in your heels and plying people with insults.

[ Parent ]
i appreciate your fine moderation, David
but in chad's defense he wasn't calling SSPers idiotic, he was eschewing "idiotic hand-wringing," which even a very smart person is capable of.  There is a "sky is falling" attitiude that can grab hold here sometimes.  God I sure heard it enough about Franken last year.  

Now the majority on this thread seems not be wringing their hands, actually.  One person said "without a doubt right now, Dodd will lose his seat."  And others have suggested that we need Dodd to retire just so we have a chance to hold the seat, which seems a little extreme at this point.  But in general, we've got a "wait-and-see" attitude.  

[ Parent ]
My language was a bit much
Didn't mean to go over the line with it.  I wasn't directing everything towards SSP either, as st. paul sage said.  I was referring to the general negative tone across all of the democratic blogs on CT and Dodd.

[ Parent ]
In my defense
for all the Franken talk, the ass hole only won by 225 votes.  After a recount.  And after months of court hearings.  I feel quite justified with everything I said considering how it all turned out.  Even though I was wrong since Franken won, nonetheless, vindicated.  Hell, it coming down to a recount and a court only makes me feel vindicated more so.  He couldnt even freakin win on election day!  It took dollars directly out of my wallet my parents wallet to pay for his win!  (I'm still claimed as a depedent so I get all my taxes back.)

And wait, Franken hasn't even won yet, JUSTIFIED!!!!  :)

He is a goner come 2014.  The fact that he and Coleman were so disliked that Barkley siphoned off 15% of the vote(the Independence Party NEVER breaks 10% in Senatorial races, "other" vote: 2006 4%, 2002 3%, 2000 8%) means he has a very good chance of being one of the most unpopular Senators and I'm not quite sure he can recover from that initial unpopularity.  He didn't have one single good approval rating throughout the election, and good as in, wow he didnt just barely break even.  Maybe MN will like him better as a Senator instead of as a candidate for Senate.

And I still cant get over how horrible of a speaker he was.  Every campaign rally, Jesus Christ, just horrible!  Couldnt finish one sentence without pausing at least three times for no reason between words.  Just horrible.

There is my rant on Al Franken, I've been holding it in since he won the endorsement as I'm a team player but finally, I can bad mouth him once more.

[ Parent ]
You aren't alone
A lot of us around here were unhappy with Franken as our nominee.  I still say a candidate like Betty McCollum would have won by a 5-10 point margin over Coleman.  It was only Franken as the nominee that made the race close.

But oh well, it's in the past and Franken still managed to win.  As for 2014 who knows.  Maybe Franken will turn out to be a better politician than most of us seem to think.

[ Parent ]
You don't think
That the constant kneecapping of Franken by much of the DFL establishment when they weren't offering a seriously viable alternative did any damage? I could give a shit if Betty McCollum or Keith Ellison wanted to wait until 2014 to run, but they should have actually put up or shut up. With all apologies to Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, if you thought he was a serious candidate, you're drinking the Kool-Aide. Coleman would have eaten him alive, just like they wanted.

Basically, the DFL establishment were perfectly fine with forfeiting a totally winnable race because Franken had the audacity to make them run in a real primary and allow the voters a chance to make their own decisions.  

22, Democrat, AZ-01
Peace. Love. Gabby.

[ Parent ]
Incumbency will be an advantage for Franken
as it is for everybody else.

[ Parent ]
Amen, Nico
You are right on target.

[ Parent ]
Dodd is not preordained to ...
lose, nor to win.  He is in jeopardy, but has the means to recover.  It is WAY TOO EARLY for any predictions. No one is unbeatable, particularly when the hint or actuality of scandal is present.    

i saw another election junkie website
where someone was confidently predicting which republicans would beat Sen Franken in 2014.  I would say that given likely messy primaries on the GOP side and the strong candidates on our side in MO and NH, Hodes and Carnahan are maybe the slightest of favorites.  Everything else, including rumors of Dodd's demise, seems just way too premature.

Dodd, unlike Burns, Bunning, and Stevens, is not a crotchety extremist or a poor fundraiser, I'm certainly hopeful about this race.

In my post above about Franken, I had initially put in percentages of what I think Pawlenty or Paulsen would win by, hahahahaha.

But come on, I think predicting that a Republican will beat Franken and doing so confidently conforms to normal political theory and occurance, mid-term year, won against a crappy incumbent who only won bc the former incumbent died in a plane crash, needed a recount to win in the first place, bad approval ratings throughout election, and I think that's it.

Like I said above, Franken may turn out to be an excellent Senator that MN loves, but I highly doubt it.

[ Parent ]
Wow, that's some hand-wringing/revisionist history
While it's certainly true that Paul Wellstone's (RIP) death and the aftermath of the memorial services definitely hurt the Democrats, it wasn't as though the race wasn't competitive to start with (while I can't find the polling at the moment, I do know that the race was always considered a really close race anyways). The race was close to begin with and the guy who Coleman ultimately beat was former Vice President (and Senator) Walter Mondale. While the circumstances might have given him a squeaker, it's not like Wellstone was a lock for re-election.

I know you don't like Franken, but saying right now saying that "a Republican will beat Franken and doing so confidently conforms to normal political theory and occurance" doesn't really pass the smell test, especially considering that, as a general proposition, most every incumbent who runs for re-election will ultimately win, especially in a state whose partisan leanings favor one party over the other (considering that, including Franken, who will ultimately win, of the thirty incumbent Senators who ran for re-election, 25 won, and of the 5 who lost [all Republicans], 3 of them lost in states that Obama won by at least 10 points [Sununu, Smith, Coleman], 1 lost because he was convicted of fraud [Stevens], and 1 lost because she ran an incompetent campaign [Dole]; by the way, I'd also point out that all Senate seats we picked up, save for Alaska, were in states that we won in the presidential race). I think you need to get over your hand-wringing about Franken.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]
It was competitive
But if memory serves me right Wellstone was up 4-8 points in most polls at the time of his killing.  It would have been close but I doubt he'd have lost the race.

[ Parent ]
Memory serves
He actually got a bounce after voting against the war.

[ Parent ]
I don't disagree
I'm having a hard time finding any polling between Coleman and Wellstone (I found a Mason-Dixon poll from September of that year giving Wellstone a 47-44 lead over Coleman) but from the articles I've been reading at the time (before Wellstone's death) there seemed to be a common consensus that the race was basically a toss-up with Wellstone holding an ever-so-slight lead in the polls.

My point was that Norm Coleman, jackass he may be, was still a strong enough candidate to give Paul Wellstone a real run for the money (not knowning where the polling was exactly, I can say reasonably that the race was definitely one of the more competitive ones of the election season).

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]
I say this with limited knowledge of Connecticut politics (and I was born in New Haven!  I should be ashamed of myself) and no particular disagreement with Dodd's positions on anything, but is there any chance of a primary challenge?  Would it be easier to elect Dodd or a less controversial non-incumbent?

There might have been
But I would think most big name Dems in CT are waiting on 2012 when Lieberman is up for re-election to run.

[ Parent ]
Deep bench
But, with the exception of AG Blumenthal, I can't possibly imagine someone stronger than Dodd will likely eventually be.  Right now, we're all popping Tums faster thsn we can type.  We need to sit back and see if the Dodd-Countrywide scandal sticks.  If it does, I will personally write an apology and eat my shorts.  The vote might be a little depressed from usual, but this is Connecticut.  Other than Gov. Rell, there are no more moderate Repubs in this very blue (though ancestrally Republican) state.  This is especially true since Shays is taking a powder.

30, male, Democratic, CO-01

[ Parent ]

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