Washington (CNN) – Joe Biden heads to Connecticut Friday to help out one of the Senate's most vulnerable Democrats.
The vice president is teaming up with Sen. Chris Dodd in East Hartford, Connecticut to announce nearly $4 million in federal stimulus funding to replace an aging fire station. Later in the day, Biden is scheduled to join Dodd at a private fundraiser in Hartford for the embattled five-term senator, who's up for re-election and fighting for his political life.
The Senate Banking Committee chairman saw his approval ratings plunge late last year and early this year, following last year's Wall Street and banking industry financial meltdown, Dodd's involvement in the AIG bonus controversy, and following questions about mortgages he obtained from a VIP program.
Dodd's poll numbers inched up during the spring and summer after bottoming out earlier this year. But his approval rating slipped back again in a Quinnipiac University survey released last month. The poll also indicated that by 53 percent to 39 percent, Connecticut voters don't think Dodd deserves to be re-elected next year. According to the survey, Dodd is trailing his two potential Republican challengers in hypothetical 2010 general election matchups.
(Updated with new Dodd developments after the jump)
In a sign of Dodd's sinking political fortunes, the Cook Political Report this week moved his race from "toss up" to "lean Republican."
This will be the third recent high-profile visit for Dodd. The vice president and the senator in Connecticut appeared together at a stimulus event in early October. Later that month, President Barack Obama visited the state to headline a Dodd fundraiser.
It seems that right now, Chris Dodd's become the posterboy for incumbents in trouble.
"Dodd's in bad shape. He needs to put the focus on the eventual GOP nominee. He needs voters to reassess him and what he's done for Connecticut," says Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. "He needs voters to feel good. If their overall mood is deeply sour, they are going to listen to messages of change. If there's a general uptick in mood, that will help Dodd."
UPDATE: Dodd's staying on Capitol Hill Friday. In a press statement, the vice president's office says that due to the possibility of votes on the Senate floor, "Senator Dodd will be unable to join Vice President Biden in Connecticut. The Senator's wife, Jackie Clegg Dodd, will make brief remarks at each event."
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