Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general known for pursuing consumer causes and brokering a $206-billion tobacco settlement, will seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Christopher Dodd.
"I will be a fighter in Washington for change," Blumenthal, 63, said at Connecticut Democratic Party headquarters in Hartford hours after Dodd, 65, announced that he won't seek re-election. "I will stand strong against scams and special interests," Blumenthal said.
He said he will seek to limit "unconscionable" interest rates and fees charged by credit-card companies and work to rein in the "excesses that brought our economy to the brink of catastrophe."
The nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report in Washington said in an e-mail that Blumenthal "is the favorite to keep the seat in Democratic hands." The report said Dodd "appeared to be stuck at or below 40 percent in public polls and was in dire shape for another term."
Since winning the attorney general post in 1990, Blumenthal has backed labor unions and whistle-blowers and taken on corporate interests, a role he said he intends to continue if elected to the Senate.
Blumenthal also joined states suing lead-paint manufacturers and makers of the gasoline additive MTBE.