Two In to Challenge Dodd

Campaign season is starting now for Sen. Chris Dodd’s 2010 Senate race as pundits tag him as vulnerable and challengers announce their candidacy.

The latest addition to the race for the Senate is Republican State Sen. Sam Caligiuri, a second-term General Assemblyman who made his official campaign announcement Tuesday from his front lawn in Waterbury.

Caligiuri, who has hired GOP consultant Evan Kozlow, criticizes Dodd as being "out of touch" and having been in Washington too long.

Political pundits and pollsters have said Dodd’s connections to AIG and Countrywide Financial scandals have made him vulnerable. The Cook Report last week released its Senate race rankings and called Dodd’s seat a “toss up.”

Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons of Stonington, who served in Congress for three terms, also wants the GOP nod.

Republican Tom Foley, a former ambassador to Ireland, is also said to be eyeing a run against Dodd, the Stamford Advocate reports

"I think there's a real opportunity here for some new leadership and fresh ideas," Foley told the Advocate. "The voters' opinions of the House and Senate are very low. I think there's a trend of trying to get people into Washington who are problem-solvers and can get things accomplished and steer clear of professional politicians."

Cook Report  also includes former U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor and financier Peter Schiff as other Republican challengers.

Caligiuri has a master's degree in religion from Yale University, a political science degree from Boston College and a law degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington.

Dodd seems to be gearing up to fight for his seat. He hired Jay Howser, who helped get Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana elected.

Last week, Howser told the Hartford Courant that would build the largest grassroots campaign in state history.

While the challengers to come forward are Republicans, we might seem some Democrats challenging Dodd, Villanova University professor Lara Brown told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"An enterprising Democrat might decide that taking Dodd on would be good politics," she told the newspaper, pointing to a "reformer-type, someone who will not be perceived as a corrupt politician." 

One person who has decided he will not try a run is CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow.

"In my heart I know that I belong right here at CNBC. This is my love. I just signed a new long-term deal here and I can’t think of anything else I would rather do," he said.

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