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Connecticut: Simmons’ Entry Sets Up Dogfight for Dodd

Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) announced Sunday that he will challenge Sen. Christopher Dodd (D), setting up what is expected to be one of the marquee Senate contests of 2010.

“Everybody said, Let’s do this. This is important. Sen. Dodd has let us down, and he’s really abandoned Connecticut,’— Simmons said in an interview Monday after speaking with his family this weekend.

Simmons was buoyed by a recent Quinnipiac University poll that showed him in a statistical dead heat with Dodd in a head-to-head matchup — 43 percent for Simmons to 42 percent for Dodd. Additional public surveys have shown Dodd’s numbers to be soft among voters in the state — likely a result of criticism over a controversial 2003 mortgage deal and a quixotic bid for the presidency in 2008.

Simmons blasted Dodd for both of those issues Monday and accused Dodd of having “sweetheart deals from the people that he oversees— as chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

“The people of Connecticut are unhappy with Sen. Dodd,— Simmons said.

Simmons lost re-election to now-Rep. Joe Courtney (D) by 83 votes in 2006, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee did not waste time reminding voters why they rejected him then.

“Rob Simmons is no moderate — he was a staunch supporter of George Bush’s failed economic policies and this race will be an opportunity to hold him accountable for that record,— DSCC Communications Director Eric Schultz said.

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