First, Byron Dorgan (N.D.) and Christopher Dodd (Conn.) announced they would not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate. Both would have had trouble winning. And Dodd, as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, was knee-deep in the increasingly unpopular banking, insurance, and auto-industry bailouts. (Not to mention the sweetheart deal he got from Countrywide.

More stunning to me was the announcement that Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter would retire at the end of his first term this year. Ritter won the 2006 election in a blowout, 56-41, over U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez.

I covered Ritter’s campaign and the first two years of his term and I genuinely like him. He’s a pro-life former prosecutor who was always accessible, even though was way too fond of green energy and other liberal policies for my tastes. He was going to have a tough re-election against former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis. Still, he seemed to be a good fit for the state.

(On a personal note, I’ll never forget that on the final day the Rocky Mountain News was published, he spent a half-hour or so in the newsroom, saying farewell to and consoling the employees.)

2010 looks like a bad year to be a Democrat.