Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Dodd, Dorgan departures difficult for Democrats

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When you are the party in charge, you usually want to stay in Congress. The chairmanships, the perks are all much better when your party is in control.

But we are seeing a lot of Democrats leaving the House, and to be fair, a lot of Republicans as well.

The Democrats’ departure is more significant because, well, they are in charge.

Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) — both Senators — will hang it up and not run for re-election.

To be blunt, Dodd’s decision is not a surprise and a likely blessing for the Democratic Party. But those who hate Joe Lieberman will find the opposite of a silver lining in this decision.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wants to go to the Senate, badly. His best shot looked like running against Lieberman in 2012. Now, it would be almost certain that Blumenthal will run in 2010 to replace Dodd.

The Republican primary has seen more press than usual for two main reasons. Linda McMahon, whose husband Vince runs some wrestling thing, is a candidate that draws attention. And Republicans aren’t interested in running against Lieberman since they wouldn’t do well, and Lieberman agrees with the GOP on many issues.

The Republicans all saw the dynamic of the 2006 race: Lieberman had Ned Lamont on the Democratic side and a weak Republican.

So if Blumenthal runs in 2010 and wins, he can’t run against Joe Lieberman in 2012. Democrats are better off seeing Blumenthal run for Dodd’s seat, and worrying about Lieberman in 2012. Democrats ideally would like Blumenthal to wait for 2012 to see Lieberman go down in flames. But they don’t want to potentially lose Chris Dodd’s seat.

The Byron Dorgan situation is more sad and a lot more unexpected. Dorgan is a champion of net neutrality, against the U.S. policy toward Cuba, and predicted the financial insanity we have before us.

Senate seats from North Dakota has stayed Democratic since 1987, but the Republicans feel they have a better shot at Dorgan’s seat.

Dorgan isn’t offering any reason to this point, noting that he thinks he could win re-election.

So is the animosity of the people, whether on the Left or teabaggers on the Right, the reason people are running away from Congress? That may depend on how many more non-renewals we see from those in Congress.

“Open seats” is a phrase you may get sick of hearing by the time November rolls along.


Written by democracysoup

January 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

Posted in 2010 elections

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