Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, under fire for his role in allowing the AIG executive bonuses, now has a Democratic challenger in the 2010 race.
Connecticut businessman Merrick Alpert, who served in the Air Force in Bosnia, says in a video to voters on his website, "You deserve a senator who tells you the truth....Like many of you, I've lost faith in Senator Dodd. He's become part of a culture of corruption in Washington."
Dodd has become "beholden to special interests," Alpert continues. "He's more interested in protecting his job than yours."
Alpert makes clear he'll run an outsiders campaign, describing himself as not a politician and the product of a working class background in Colchester, where he was raised by a single mother who was a school teacher.
Dodd is trying to rebuild his popularity, which slipped during the financial meltdown and his failed 2008 presidential bid. As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, he drew particular criticism for his role in allowing $165 million in AIG bonuses.
After first denying any involvement, Dodd acknowledged that during the drafting of the final version of the $787 economic billion stimulus bill, he led the charge on including "strong language" to limit executive compensation, but went along with Treasury Department officials who wanted to change the language to protect some already-contracted bonuses to avoid legal issues.
He said if he had known it would allow the payments, "I would have rejected it out of hand."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.