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Greenwich Democrat Explores Challenge to Dodd in Connecticut

Greenwich Democrat Explores Challenge to Dodd in Connecticut

By Kevin Rennie - April 3, 2009

A Democratic challenge to Senator Christopher Dodd emerged today when Greenwich, Connecticut Democrat Roger Pearson told me he has formed a committee to explore a run for his party's 2010 nomination. The former First Selectman of the Republican bastion says that like many others he "is very disaffected" with Dodd, who has "really disappointed a lot of people."

"I look at the vision this guy is going to try to tell us he has," Pearson, 63, said late Thursday afternoon. "Where was he when Phil Gramm was talking about credit default stops and subprime mortgages?"

"I don't believe in career politics or career politicians," taking swipe at five term incumbent Dodd, who has fallen 16 points behind Republican former congressman Rob Simmons, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday.

The father of four children between the ages of 9 and 16, Pearson has some experience with the plunging prospects of previously unassailable politicians. The collapse of the Mianus River Bridge on I-95 in June, 1983, caused prolonged mayhem on the streets of Greenwich as the main northbound artery in the northeast remained closed for 6 months. That fall Pearson defeated Greenwich First Selectwoman Rebecca Breed, a rising star in Republican politics who'd been tagged with the failure to alleviate her tony town's misery.

The Stamford lawyer has had a diverse and eclectic career. In the 1970s and 1980s, he traveled the world representing professional tennis players. The New York Military Academy classmate of Donald Trump currently practices real estate, corporate and land use law.

Pearson's contrarian instincts were on display in 2006 when he supported Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for the Senate and incumbent Joseph Lieberman when he ran in the general election as an independent after losing his party's nomination to Lamont. Pearson says he switched to Lieberman because he "wasn't happy with some of the answers" given during the fall campaign. Lieberman disappointed Pearson by failing to support a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq after winning re-election.

Calling himself "reasonably bipartisan," Pearson says he doesn't want to repeat the mistake he thinks he made in 1987 when he sat out a special election for Congress after the death of Republican Stewart McKinney.

Kevin Rennie, a former Republican state senator, is a columnist for the Hartford Courant. He can be reached at kfrennie@yahoo.com.

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