[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/06/art.blummie0106.gi.jpg caption="Blumenthal is expected to win his party's endorsement."](CNN) - Democrats and Republicans gather separately this weekend in Connecticut to hand out party endorsements in the battle for Sen. Chris Dodd's seat. It's all part of the Democratic and GOP state party nominating conventions, which kick off Friday.
Polls indicate that state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is the overwhelming favorite over businessman Merrick Alpert in the fight for the Democratic nomination. But Blumenthal is under the gun this week, after the New York Times reported that he distorted his military service. The article alleges that Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam and says that he never served in that war, even though the candidate has claimed he did in speeches before veterans groups and military families.
On Tuesday Blumenthal acknowledged that he has not always accurately described his military service during the Vietnam War.
"On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service and I regret that and I take full responsibility," Blumenthal said while surrounded by Vietnam veterans at a news conference in West Hartford. "But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country."
On the Republican side, former Rep. Rob Simmons, former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, and businessman Peter Schiff are vying for the GOP nomination.
Dodd, a five-term senator, announced in January that he would not run for re-election this year. Dodd had been considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in 2010. Polls taken prior to this week's controversy indicated that Blumenthal was ahead by more than two to one margins in hypothetical general election matchups against all three GOP candidates.
McMahon's campaign claimed credit Tuesday for giving the New York Times a video of a speech in Norwalk, Connecticut, in which Blumenthal says he served in Vietnam.
Endorsements for governor and other state wide offices will also be voted on at this weekend's conventions.
Connecticut holds its primaries on August 10.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn