Democrats are feeling sick to their stomachs today in the wake of the stunning announcements that Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan, and Bill Ritter would all abandon their reelection bids. Dorgan is the real loss here, Politico reports; Republicans stand a strong chance of picking up the North Dakota senator’s seat, which had until now seemed relatively safe.
Dodd and Ritter’s departures may actually help Democrats since both were struggling, and able replacements are available for both. Yet coupled with a spate of House retirements, they represent a troubling pattern. “The biggest lesson from today is psychological,” writes Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic. “There are a lot of Democrats who want to retire, and their colleagues, in essence, are giving them cover to do so. That's what makes Democrats so nervous.”