Dodd’s Out for 2010: Who’s Running?

This morning, you will learn that long term Senator Chris Dodd has decided not to seek re-election this year. He will retire after 30 years. This comes after being rattled by critics throughout the state regarding potential housing scandles and his handling of votes and legislation in Washington. No doubt, his decision has come after very private conversations within the State and National Democratic Party. So you might ask, if Chris Dodd doesn’t run for US Senate this year who will?

What might interest you is that unlike many past elections, there are plenty of interested citizens running for a variety of offices. In fact, the Governor’s seat is also up for grabs after Gov. Jodi Rell announced in November that she will not be seeking re-election. In past years, there was usually only two choices for these two offices, yet to date there are 13 for both.

It should be noted that it is still early in the game, however and many more may jump in the race. Yet, there’s an irony in the way politics selects candidates. Unless you are registered as a Republican or Democrat, you may still get only two choices in November. The game for choosing your next Senator in Washington and Governor of Connecticut starts with your local parties, state political conventions, and probably a primary in August.

You may ask yourself – didn’t we just have an election.. or two? While it seems like we just elected President Obama and Sarah Palin fans are ready to elect her tomorrow, Alaskans stuck in Wolcott will still have to wait almost 3 years. (By the way, Kodiak Island, Alaska reached 42 degrees yesterday. Wolcott only reached 28)

Yet, time is flying by. In 2009 and other odd-numbered years, we vote on town officials. In even- numbered years its time to vote for federal and state legislators. Every alternating 4 years, we select a Governor or President to four year terms. And every 6 years one of Connecticut’s two US Senate seats is up for grabs.

So what’s the game plan on how candidates are selected? Currently, candidates are visiting local town committees of both parties. Those committees will select delegates to candidate nominating conventions this spring. If a losing potential candidate achieves a certain percentage of votes at those conventions or petitions for a primary, one will be held on August 10th. Between the spring and then, it could be anyone’s game as those candidates appeal to voters of the party they belong to. The winners of the August primary – and any independent or 3rd party candidates- face off on November 2nd.

Below I have outlined who I know of is running for each office. Where possible I have included links to their campaign websites. Please add any comments below.

US Senate:

Merrick Alpert – Thus far Mr. Alpert is the only candidate announced for US Senate. I have met him personally at a recent stop in Hartford where he handed me a bar of soap with the words “Isn’t it time for a clean senator?”. Candid and down to earth, Alpert has an impressive resume having been an Air Force veteran and worked on Bill Clinton’s Presidential Inaugural Committee and served as an advisor to Al Gore’s advance team on domestic and foriegn trips. He then served as a policy advisor to an Oklahoma governor and built a small international business. His views seem to be pretty mainstream, including asking that we get out of Afghanistan.

Dick Blumenthal – This morning at 7:21 on the Chaz & AJ show on WPLR, Blumenthal announced that he is running for US Senate. He then retracted his announcement to say he will “formally” announce later, to give Chris Dodd “more time.” The Attorney General is returning from his December press conference marathon to announce that he will fill the 7 hour vacuum of power was left after leaks were made to the media that Dodd would be retiring. We’ll see how he does after this debacle with Glen Beck. (Will Beck run?)

Linda McMahon – McMahon was former CEO of the World Wrestling Entertainment federation and head of the state’s Department of Education under Governor Rell.

Peter Schiff – An economist with best selling books what railed against both President Bush’s and Obama’s stimulus packages, Schiff also acquired and built up financial giant Euro Pacific Capital.

Rob Simmons – Simmons is a former Congressman from the 2nd Congressional District, representing most of the state east of the Connecticut River. A distinguished former intelligence officer, Simmons takes credit for helping to save the Groton Sub base.


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