Simmons Might Challenge Dodd

Simmons is likely to run and will decide by Sunday

U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd is in for a fight in 2010 and it’s a fight he could loss, according to recent polls.

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Dodd slightly behind former Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons of Stonington if Simmons does run.

Dodd got 42 percent of those surveyed, while Simmons took 43 percent. It makes the upcoming race interesting considering Dodd has had a heavy presence in the Congress as the state's senior U.S. senator.

"The Quinnipiac Poll, which is very impartial and independent and reliable, tells me there is support for me as a candidate and I should be encouraged to declare my candidacy sometime soon," Simmons told the Connecticut Post Tuesday.

Simmons said he sees nothing ahead that would prevent him from challenging Conn. in 2010, the Connecticut Post reports. He plans to make a final decision by Sunday.

“There are people out there I need to talk to and have conversations with about these numbers and what they mean. I'll make my decision by the Ides of March and then we'll plan for the future," he told the newspaper. 

A former state representative and CIA agent, Simmons served three terms in Congress representing the 2nd congressional district. He was narrowly defeated in November 2006 by Vernon Democrat Joe Courtney.

Most recently, Simmons was the state's business advocate. The survey of 1,238 registered voters has a 2.8 percentage-point margin of error.

"These numbers have to worry Sen. Christopher Dodd. Former Congressman Simmons is not well known outside his district, yet he is running neck and neck with Dodd at this point," Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, said. "Simmons easily wins his former district. The good news for Dodd is that this is the first poll in a long time where Dodd's job approval hasn't dropped. It appears that Dodd's slide may have ended."

Just last week, CNBC's Larry Kudlow, the host of  "The Kudlow Report," and an economist from Fairfield was mentioned as the latest possible challenger to Dodd.

Other possible Dodd challengers are State Sen. Sam S.F. Caligiuri, R-16th District and Tom Foley, a GOP fundraiser who was named ambassador to Ireland by President George W. Bush.

Dodd leads Caligiuri, 47-34, percent and tops CNBC-TV host Larry Kudlow, 46-34, percent, the independent poll finds.

"While regular CNBC watchers are familiar with Larry Kudlow, Connecticut voters don't know much about him," Schwartz said. "Only about 1 in 10 voters know enough about him to offer an opinion. State Sen. Sam Caligiuri has similarly low recognition numbers."

Peter Schiff, a financial pundit who has also been a television commentator, who was born in New Haven, is getting a swell of grassroots support but has not announced whether he will run.

Connecticut voters approve 49-44 percent of the job Dodd is doing, compared to a negative 41-48 percent approval rating on Feb. 10. Dodd gets a split 46-45 percent favorability.

For Simmons, 53 percent do not know enough to form an opinion. Caligiuri and Kudlow are even more unknown, at 88 and 87 percent.  

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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