WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Consumer activist and Connecticut native Ralph Nader said Friday he is “absorbing” the reaction he’s receiving about a possible bid for the U.S. Senate, saying he wants to first gauge the level of grass-roots support before making a decision.
Many people have called on Nader to jump into the hotly contested race to challenge Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, who has been struggling in recent polls. Nader said he’s getting increasingly more requests from Connecticut Green Party members, independents and supporters of Ned Lamont, the upstart Democrat who challenged Sen. Joe Lieberman in the 2006 election.
“I’m just absorbing a lot of the feedback before I make a decision,” said Nader, who appeared at the Noah Webster Library in West Hartford, where he was signing his new book, “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!”
Some Democrats accused Nader of being a spoiler in the 2000 presidential election when he ran as the Green Party’s candidate and got 2.7 percent of the vote. Republican George W. Bush won the electoral vote that year, defeating the Democrat, former Vice President Al Gore.
This time around, supporters look to 75-year-old Nader as the person who can reform government and hold the banking industry accountable. Dodd has come under criticism for his role in the national financial crisis as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
Nader said he wants to determine whether voters are truly dissatisfied with Dodd and whether there are enough willing to work throughout Connecticut’s 169 towns “for a new breed of political representation in Washington.”
“It really depends on what kind of momentum there is and how many people are willing to roll up their sleeves because I’m very accustomed to people saying ‘run Ralph run’ and then they drift away, predisposed and preoccupied with their daily life,” he told reporters. “It has to be bottom up.”
Dodd’s campaign and the state Democrats have declined to comment on a possible Nader candidacy.