(CNN) - Rob Simmons, a Republican running for the Senate nomination in Connecticut who has been a fierce critic of Sen. Chris Dodd, said in a statement Dodd's decision to retire does not change his own campaign plans:
"I want to thank Senator Chris Dodd for his long service in Congress. While our disagreements have been profound, Heidi and I wish him and his family all the best. Today's announcement does not change my plan to seek and win the Senate seat from Connecticut.
"Whoever the Democratic nominee is, he or she will have to defend the failed Democratic policies of higher taxes, bigger government, exploding debt, and a misguided approach to national security that treats terrorists as mere criminals rather than the enemy combatants that they are. My entire political career is defined by running in tough races and I expect no less this time around, but I believe voters in Connecticut are seeking real changes in the way government operates and I am the only candidate who has the broad experience and track record to deliver for the state and nation."