HARTFORD - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced Wednesday his candidacy to run for the U.S. Senate seat left open by the retirement of Sen. Chris Dodd.

Blumenthal made his announcement at state Democratic headquarters just hours after Dodd announced he would not run for re-election.

The 63-year-old said that a Senate seat had long been a personal career aspiration.

Blumenthal already starts with a commanding lead in the race. A poll conducted this week before Blumenthal's announcement by Public Policy Polling has the attorney general holding a more than 30 percent lead over all Republican challengers.