The Hour is reporting that Greenwich businessman Steven J. Simmons thinks he can challenge Chris Dodd for the Connecticut senate seat in 2010. I know nothing about the guy, and neither does anyone else, I suppose. From the article:
"The latest Quinnipiac poll indicated that any Republican put up against (Dodd) would win," Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba told The Hour.
Unfortunately, that is just not true. Dodd beat Caligiuri 41-39 in the last Q poll, and at least he is a state senator. Steven Simmons' best bet might be hoping people vote for him thinking they are voting for Rob Simmons. Clearly there are some people who are underestimating what it is going to take to win this seat for the good guys. Just having an (R) after your name is not going to get you very far. This is Connecticut, after all, and Dodd has been "representing" us for some three decades. As bad as things are for Dodd right now and as incompetent as he continues to prove himself to be, there is a long time left before the election. Connecticut voters are not just going to hand the seat to whoever wins the Republican nomination.
In a statewide election, name recognition is huge; most of the announced (Foley, Caligiuri, Alpert) and potential challengers (Schiff, S. Simmons, Orchulli) have a lot of work to do on that front. Rob Simmons is better known than those already mentioned, and should Dodd step down, AG Blumenthal would be the best known candidate in the race as soon as he could rip himself away from his latest press conference.
Republicans need to work on narrowing the field of challengers, not adding new ones every few weeks. (Of course, I am not suggesting they should not be allowed to run, I am merely observing that it is not in the best interest of the party for these folks to hang around too long.) Hopefully, Republicans (and conservatives in general) can keep the focus on getting rid of Chris Dodd; after all, anyone already mentioned, and many people not mentioned, would be an improvement over what we have.
But the reality is that not any (R) will beat Dodd. It will have to be someone who voters know, who they trust more than Dodd, and who is moderate enough to attract the votes of thinking Dems (they do exist) who aren't blind enough to pull the party lever (remember those?), even if Dodd hangs around to the bitter end. It is shaping up to be an interesting seventeen months.
Cross-posted at The Artful Doddger.