Dorgan, Dodd, to Retire

The big political news of the day is that both Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Chris Dodd of Connecticut will retire rather than seek another term. Dodd, of course, had been embroiled in a a scandal involving a sweetheart mortage deal from Countrywide that had tanked his poll numbers, with even libertarian kook Peter Schiff polling ahead of him head-to-head recently. Dorgan, however, was pretty well liked, had no major challenger yet, and probably would have retained the seat, although it might have been a tough contest. The obvious narrative is going to be that this spells trouble for the Democrats in 2010, but I’m not sure that’s a logical conclusion. For one thing, there are 6 Republicans who won’t be seeking re-election. For another, while Dorgan’s announcement guarantees they’ll lose the seat, Dodd’s pretty nearly guarantees they’ll hold his, which they probably would have lost if he sought re-election. So it’s basically a wash, but that is a wash that results in a net loss of one seat for Senate Democrats. Still, looking over the map for 2010, I think the field is pretty well set for a more or less even contest, and I think either party is going to gain one or two seats. Which is to say, don’t sleep on the possibility Democrats gain seats in the Senate.