A week ago, the big race in Connecticut was for governor in 2010. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, former Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele seemed huddled near the top of a crowded race. And though it wasn't foremost on state resident's minds, everyone assumed the popular Attorney General Richard Blumenthal would fulfill his long-held goal of a Senate seat by running against the increasingly unpopular Independent Joseph Lieberman.
Then, Christopher Dodd announced he would no longer run for re-election. Minutes later, Blumenthal got a two-year jump on his Senate seat attempt. Republican front-runners to challenge Dodd, who had been in the Connecticut news nearly daily, suddenly became big losers. Connecticut bloggers began wondering whether Bysiewicz or Malloy might prefer the AG spot, and Bysiewicz signaled she might. Former state Senator and chairman of the state Democratic party, George Jepsen, also wants to join in now.
With Byziewicz possibly out, the calculus of the gubernatorial race changes; she was a middle-of-the-state candidate in a field with too many from lower-Fairfield County. And now, at least one more person wants to run for governor. With state politicians scrambling to adjust to the post-Dodd vacuum, it's hard to imagine who will emerge to challenge Lieberman in 2012, though his poll numbers are sliding below where Dodd's were. He might just be assuming he's safe.
Except that it took about a day for everyone to decide who his most likely challenger is. Rep. Chris Murphy has said reaching the Senate is part of his long-term plan, and Public Policy Polling had him winning against Dodd's Republican challengers before Dodd dropped out of the race and Blumenthal entered it. If Blumenthal wins in 2010, which PPP has him doing, then state Democrats could get behind Murphy as a challenger to Lieberman in 2012. But it took only one step to shake things up this week, so it's useful to remember how far away that actually is.