Updated: Friday, 20 Feb 2009, 6:41 PM EST
Published : Friday, 20 Feb 2009, 4:39 PM EST
Hartford (WTNH) - Connecticut's senior senator, Chris Dodd (D), is seen as being politically vulnerable right now and it looks like the Republicans are lining up for the opportunity to give him a run.
Dodd spent the part of the day talking about the economy with students at Hartford's Weaver High School. He told Chief Capitol Correspondent Mark Davis that is he planning to run for re-election next year. But if you've been watching television lately, it looks like the campaign is already underway with commercials that are running throughout the state.
"They're not my spots. I never heard about them before," Dodd said.
The commercials are being paid for by the Pharmaceutical Industry, a labor union, the Cancer Society and a non-profit group lobbying for national health care. But why are they doing it?
"Because Chris Dodd's in trouble. He has a credibility problem with the voters of Connecticut," explained Chris Healy, Chairman of the CT Republicans.
Healy notes that Dodd's approval ratings are at an all-time low.
"They don't believe his explanation when he tried to explain how he got two sweetheart mortgage deals with Countrywide," Healy said.
And just yesterday Dodd had to announce he was giving $27,500 to charity because that's the amount accused financial scammer Allen Stanford and his employees gave to Dodd's campaigns.
Healy now has two viable candidates who want to challenge Dodd - Greenwich businessman Tom Foley and former Congressman Rob Simmons.
Tom Foley isn't that well known to the public, but the 56-year old has a lot of money and knows how to raise it. He raised so much for George W. Bush that he was awarded the ambassadorship to Ireland.
Former 2nd District Congressman Rob Simmons of Stonington does does have some public name recognition as well as an impressive public resume, plus he knows how to raise money.
Then there's State Senator Sam Caligiuri of Waterbury who says he is seriously considering a run for Dodd's seat as well.
Dodd realizes he may have quite a political fight ahead of him.
"Of course I'm going to have opponents and I know that people are going to want to come after (me). These are tough economic times, people are hurting Mark and when people are hurting, they're angry," Dodd said.
Some Republicans are urging former 4th District Congressman Chris Shays to run as well, but he has said he's not interested.