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Chris Dodd: Jumping ship?

What the retirements of Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan and several other Democrats mean for the party in a tough election year

After 30 years in the Senate, Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, is choosing to retire rather than fight an uphill reelection bid this year. The news came after Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota — a Democrat whose seat was deemed safe — announced he would not run for reelection. Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado and Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry, who had been the likely Democratic nominee for governor in that state, have also bowed out. Are Democrats retiring because they fear a Republican surge in the fall? (Watch an AP report about Democrats' announced retirements)

Dodd's departure actually helps Democrats: Chris Dodd's problems weren't part of a backlash against Democrats, says Nate Silver in FiveThirtyEight. Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, took much of the blame for post-bailout AIG bonuses, and his ratings were further hurt by his links to Countrywide's VIP loans. Now that popular state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is going for Dodd's seat, it should be "uber-safe" for Democrats."Dodd joins Dorgan on sidelines; Blumenthal enters as heavy favorite"

Republicans should still be glad to see Dodd go: Yes, Democrats stand a better chance in Connecticut without Dodd on the ballot, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, but that doesn't mean his retirement is "bad news." Republicans can still make Dodd's sweetheart loan from Countrywide "graft Exhibit A." And "Dodd’s corruption and incompetence will not be missed in the Senate regardless of how he chooses to exit." "Dodd retiring"

Democrats face their "bleakest" election in years: No matter how the individual races turn out, say Manu Raju and Josh Kraushaar in Politico, "the grim outlook for Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections just got a little worse." And it's Sen. Byron Dorgan's "stunning retirement" — not Dodd's — that hurts the most. His conservative state will likely replace him with a Republican in November, so Democrats can probably kiss their "60-40 Senate supermajority" goodbye."Top Democrats head for the exits"

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