SEN. DODD IS OUT; AG BLUMENTHAL IS IN FOR US SENATE

US Sen. Christopher Dodd will not seek reelection this fall. Dodd’s poll numbers have been a problem for him and his popularity has sunk since his run for the presidency in 2008. Sources spoke to the Associate Press on condition of anonymity. Dodd is expected to make an announcement later today.

Dodd has battled low favorability and poor job performance numbers for a number of reasons including his chairing of the Banking committee while the nation has a financial meltdown; his low-interest mortgage loans from Countrywide Bank and moving his family in Iowa for his failed run for the presidency in 2008.

On the Democratic side, Dodd’s exit opens the door for state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, one of the state’s most popular political figures and who, according to several published reports, will announce today at noon that he will seek to succeed Dodd. On the Republican side, former US Rep. Rob Simmons leads the pack followed by former wrestling executive Linda McMahon.

Blumenthal has been Connecticut’s attorney general since 1990 and served in the state legislature from 1984 to 1990.

Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman plans to form an exploratory committee to run for governor. That and other developments made the Connecticut political scene one for which you need a scorecard to keep straight the players and the positions they seek.

Glassman would become the 7th Democratic candidate to have either an exploratory or candidate committee in the race for the nomination. Glassman ran for lieutenant governor with Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy at the top of the ticket in 2006. They faced-off in a primary against New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka. In a rare occurrence, DeStefano beat Malloy in the primary but Glassman handily beat Slifka putting DeStefano and Glassman together for the general election (which they lost to the GOP team of Rell-Fedele).

Glassman stands out from the rest of the field in that she has served in a number of positions at the Capitol as well two stints running Simsbury. On the state level, she was counsel to then-Speaker Moira Lyons, policy director for then-Senate President Kevin Sullivan and as Sullivan’s chief of staff when he moved up to Lt. Governor. Glassman is likely to shake things up in the Democratic primary this year; an attractive candidate with substantial state and local government experience. [Disclosure: The author of The Hanging Shad worked with Glassman for several years in the state Senate Democratic Caucus].

She has been equally successful running Simsbury. She’s served six terms as Simsbury’s chief executive where she won praise for cutting town spending, fostering regional cooperation and serving as the driving force behind the creation of a nationally renowned skating center and the summer home of the Hartford Symphony. Under her watch, Simsbury was recently ranked among the Top 100 Best Places to Live in America.

“As first selectman I’ve always looked for ways to do more with less so that we can have the resources to invest in our schools, strengthen our neighborhoods, foster small businesses and create jobs. We need to do that at the state level, but it requires planning and vision—something our state has sorely lacked,” said Glassman.

In another twist in the potential Democratic gubernatorial primary (one that seemed long over-due), Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy is trying to box-in multi-millionaire Ned Lamont into participating in the public financing program (PF) in the new campaign finance reform law (CFR) . Malloy points out that Lamont has always been a strong supporter of public financing but Lamont has hinted he may forgo PF and use his own personal fortune to run for governor. If he doesn’t participate in PF, Lamont opens himself to charges of hypocrisy.

And speaking of public financing, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who is also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, has filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, asking the panel to overturn a lower court’s decision to throw out Connecticut’s public financing program for political campaigns.

Strap on the seatbelts. This election year could be a wild one.