Just yesterday North Dakota Senator Bryan Dorgan (D) announced that he won't run again. And just a few hours ago, Sen. Chriss Dodd (D), as expected, announced his plans not to step aside.
Mr. Dodd was already considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats facing re-election this November, and party officials had been privately hoping he would step aside. His move opens the way for the state’s highly popular attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, to run. Democrats and Republicans said he would be a much stronger candidate in what is a Democratic state.
Dodd was first elected in 1980. Over the last few years his state popularity has declined starting when he made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2008-- even going so far as to move his family to Iowa. Questions have been raised about a disputed loan he took from Countrywide Financial, the fallen subprime company.
Mr. Dodd has been the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during the economic meltdown.
Mr. Dodd was one of two Democratic senators – the other was Kent Conrad of North Dakota – who had been accused of receiving improper discounts from Countrywide Financial. In August, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics ruled that it had found “no credible evidence” that the senators had violated gift rules in accepting the loans.
But the committee criticized Mr. Dodd and Mr. Conrad for not avoiding the appearance of impropriety.
Sounds like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and the Keating 5 back in 1989. The four others were Democrats, including Sen. John Glenn of Ohio.
Polling in Connecticut suggested that Mr. Dodd had been hurt both by his association with Countrywide and by criticism for his role in legislation that appeared to clear the way for bonuses to be paid to executives of American International Group, the insurance firm that received a govnerment bailout.
As chairman of the Senate banking committee, he had a central role in both the huge government rescue of the financial system and the economic stimulus package that was adopted at the start of last year.
When Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died, Dodd begame active chairman of the Senate Health Committee, the first Congressional Panel to approve a version of health care reform legislation.
Mr. Dodd also led an effort to pass an ambitious overhaul of regulations governing the credit card industry. And he is at the center of the continuing effort to redraw the nation’s financial regulation system in response to the financial meltdown in 2008.
Last summer, Dodd was diagnosed with prostrate cancer and spent the summer recess undergoing surgery and recuperating. That had to have played a role in his decision to retire as di the brutal campaign for re-election.