U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) both announced this week that they will not seek re-election this fall.
Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) announced this week that they would not seek reelection when their terms expire in 2010. Hopefully, health care reform will already have passed by then, but the departure of these senators will have implications for health care policy.
As far as the Democratic majority in the Senate is concerned, the two resignations probably cancel each other out. As a relatively conservative 30-year incumbent, Dorgan was thought to be the only Democrat who could win a seat in conservative North Dakota. Dodd, on the other hand, is deeply unpopular for his role in the financial crisis, but hails from a deep blue state, so it should be easy to replace him with another Democrat. In fact, as Eric Kleefeld reports for Talking Points Memo, Dodd’s resignation improves the Democrats’ chances of holding that seat.
As Jodi Jacobson explains in RH Reality Check, losing Dorgan would be a setback for reproductive rights. While Dorgan has a mixed record on choice, “Given his state, Dorgan’s voting record is pretty progressive on at least some issues otherwise driven completely by ideology,” Jacobson writes.
Dodd is reliably pro-choice, but the pro-choice credentials of the candidate favored to take his place, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, are even more distinguished.
Last year, Blumenthal sued the Bush administration over so-called “conscience clauses” for the Department of Health and Human Services which would have given employees more latitude to refuse to provide medical care that they disapproved of on religious grounds. (The Obama administration later reversed the rule.) In 1995, Blumenthal and the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against two anti-abortion protesters under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. “Our goal was to defuse a volatile situation before it escalated into a bloodbath, such as the fatal shootings in Brookline, Massachusetts,” Blumenthal explained at the time. Blumenthal and DOJ prevailed in court in 1997.
Lindsay Beyerstein is a blogger at the Media Consortium. This article was originally posted here.
- With No Clear Trend in Youth Vote, A Challenge Awaits Progressives
- Why State Support for Marriage Equality Is Gaining Momentum
- Missouri’s New Gun Law Criminalizes Federal Officers for Doing Job, Pushes Guns into Schools
- #AskCP Twitter Chat Tells All On Guns, Immigration, And What It Takes To Work At Campus Progress
- How Senate Republicans Plan to Fix Student Loans