Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons is in the race according to an email he sent to the AP.
…An email to the AP? Huh. Okay. That’s unique.
Simmons enters the race a week after a Quinnipiac poll showed him narrowly leading Sen. Chris Dodd, 44%-43%.
You can see the Courant story here, and I’m sure there will be other reaction from around the country as Monday dawns.
My initial thought is that the Republicans finally have a strong candidate, for the first time since they turned on Lowell Weicker in 1988. They may soon have two strong candidates if State Sen. Sam Caligiuri gets into the race–and I think a primary would help the GOP by keeping the Republican candidates (and their attacks against Dodd) in the news. Neither Simmons nor Caligiuri are the sort of no-name also-rans that the state GOP usually gets to run against Dodd and Lieberman. Rob Simmons is not Jack Orchulli.
I expect Simmons will come out of the gate attacking. It will be very telling to see how Dodd, now in a real re-election battle for the first time in his life, responds. Will he make his re-election campaign about his long record and experience? His current fights for health care and credit card reform? Or will he allow Simmons to stake out the turf?
As of right now, I’d say that the race still favors Dodd, because he’s still the incumbent, he’s still a Democrat running for statewide office, and one poll does not a race make. This could change as the GOP steps up its attacks.
Prepare for a very interesting U.S. Senate race!