Paul Hodes Attacks Judd Gregg — Just In Case — While Reaffirming 2010 Senate Candidacy

It looks like Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH), who declared his 2010 candidacy for the Senate when it looked like Judd Gregg was headed to the Commerce Department, is preparing for a scenario in which he has to run against Gregg after all.

Yesterday evening, Hodes released this scathing statement about Gregg:

“I am surprised and disappointed at this sudden withdrawal. Senator Gregg would take us back to the years of George W. Bush rather than moving forward with the change agenda that the American people clearly want. I will continue to work with President Obama to create jobs and rebuild our economy for the middle class.

I will be a candidate for the United State Senate in 2010. I look forward to working every day to stand up for New Hampshire as we come together to confront the economic crisis facing our nation.”

Gregg said yesterday said he won’t be running again, but while speaking to reporters he also left himself some wiggle room by saying he was “probably not” running. Considering how a week ago he was definitely going to be Commerce Secretary, a declaration that he’s probably retiring isn’t exactly a guarantee.

So Hodes at this point is clearly preparing for two contingencies: He either runs for an open seat, or he takes on the incumbent Gregg. In a state that swung drastically from the GOP to the Dems in the last few years, this will be a top-tier pickup opportunity for the Democrats in either case.