January 6th, 2010
04:55 PM ET
5 years ago

Dem officials convinced Dodd race was 'virtually unwinnable'

A senior Democratic official told CNN Wednesday that party officials felt Sen. Chris Dodd's re-election race was 'virtually unwinnable' for Democrats.
A senior Democratic official told CNN Wednesday that party officials felt Sen. Chris Dodd's re-election race was 'virtually unwinnable' for Democrats.

Washington (CNN) – A senior Democratic source involved in Chris Dodd's campaign tells CNN that Democratic party officials had become convinced that Dodd's Connecticut re-election race was "virtually unwinnable for us."

Still, while this source and others admit there have been quiet conversations among party officials for some time about Dodd stepping aside, they say it does not appear that party leaders specifically asked him to do so.

"People have too much respect for Chris Dodd to try to get him out of this race," said the source involved with his campaign. "He had to come to it on his own."

Another source close to Dodd tells CNN he had been well aware of his uphill battle for months. This source concedes that the political reality was a big part the reason he decided not to seek re-election, but insists "this isn't a decision forced upon him or by anyone. He was looking at his career, looking at his record of accomplishments over the past 35 years, asking what else is there."

An internal Dodd campaign poll taken last month showed him trailing the leading Republican contender for his seat, Rob Simmons, 46-51 percent, in the Democratic-leaning state - where the same poll indicates President Obama holds a high favorability rating.

The source close to Dodd says his recent personal tragedies and challenges also weighed heavily in his decision to retire. He was diagnosed and treated with prostate cancer this summer, and also lost his sister and best friend, Ted Kennedy, to cancer in the span of three weeks.

"At a certain point he asked himself 'Why am I running? Why put myself through this? He looked back and said 'I've already done a hell of a lot," said the source close to Dodd.

Democratic sources say Dodd began making calls to associates about his decision Tuesday. However, a source with knowledge of the conversation tells CNN that he did not call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid until after midnight Eastern time, after the news had already been reported.

Despite what many Democratic sources call widespread respect for Dodd, it was hard for party strategists to hide their happiness with his decision, since it clears the way for Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to run. He is a popular, long-serving figure who Democrats believe has a good chance of keeping the seat in their column.

Related story: GOP FOIAs Blumenthal

"It's not a cakewalk, but it turns that race from a very uphill - pushing a boulder up a cliff - to a race that is very much winnable," said a senior Democratic strategist.

At his formal announcement Wednesday, Dodd - whose father, former Connecticut Sen. Thomas Dodd, lost his own re-election bid in 1970 - will have his wife Jackie, children and extended family on hand.


Filed under: Chris Dodd • Connecticut • Democrats • Popular Posts • Senate
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. JS007

    Sen. Dodd may be a nice guy but he was the one that inserted the line which allowed bonuses for AIG and bailed out banks, and he is now reaping the fruits of his corruption. I just wish more crooked Senators would suffer the same fate. Of course, it's not so bad, he will get a $160,000/yr pension.

    January 6, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Jane

    One word..>Goodby....and don't let the door hit you in the fanny on your way out. You have done our country a disgrace with your "politics".

    January 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Eddie

    Let's see now.....how do we get Obama to resign.....ummmmmm

    January 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. SocialismBad

    My only question is when is this corrupt criminal Democrat going to be tried, convicted and JAILED??!!!

    And how is that nearly TWO YEAR LONG investgation into Charlie Rangell's tax evasion going????? Democrats...the party of corruption. You only need to watch the healthcare bribery to see what they are all about.

    January 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Fitz in Texas

    Here's hoping he takes some crooks with him......Frank, Reid, Pelosi and the list is endless.

    January 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Dean

    Hopefully, this is the first of many incompetent senators and congressmen who will be replaced.

    January 6, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. David

    Yeah, this is what we figured. He didn't want to go down a loser since everyone knows just how corrupt and double-dealing he is. Good riddance to you. We really need to clean house on this two-party scam being run on us.

    January 6, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. cjg

    Good for him , I guess he is now rich enough to retire! I assume AIG will give him a nice big retirment check!

    January 6, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. mikl

    This rat must be in jail. 1% for loan on his house. He think that fair – he is senator. Go Dodd and take osama with you.

    January 6, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Gary, Los Angeles

    Funny how most of the people dropping out of races are DEMOCRATS. Notice the trend here? When the ship is sinking . . .

    January 6, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Bud

    Democratic party officials had become convinced that Dodd's Connecticut re-election race was "virtually unwinnable for us."

    Gee... is there any wonder why?

    January 6, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Obama is past his high water mark and hasn't really done a whole lot but assign blame. As popularity continue to fall, the rats will start to jump ship.

    January 6, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Slider

    Dodd won't be the only one...

    January 6, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Cando

    Now if all the republican senators who helped get this country into this mess would retire too maybe we could get something done for the middle class in this country.

    January 6, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. All the news that is fit to omit

    Retire or get booted out in the "massacre" was Dodd's choices and seeing the writing on the wall, he made the best decision for him.

    The gutless behind closed door liberals will spin this like it was planned all along and we will be LOSING a great LEADER and force in the party.

    Actually sheep, it is just one less gutless liar that was was as crooked as a liberal road.

    One down, many to go and Barry, YOU PAYING UH, UH, UH ATTENTION?

    January 6, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Bren

    This is the BEST decision that you have made while in office Dodd!!!

    Your decision made my day.

    However, I am also sad...........I think that I would have rather you stay in the elections for 2010--as I would have LOVED to see you get your clock cleaned in 2010.

    Did you see the recent, national polls regarding Dodd???? He was going to get a real whoop'n by the voters of Connecticut-–it was going to be funny.

    How does that Queen song go.........Bump bump bump--another one bites the dust.

    January 6, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Chris D.

    I'm all for new DEM blood in the Senate........ Senator Dodd, though the political atmosphere is crazy right now, you didn't screw up all six terms in the senate.........thank you for serving our country.

    January 6, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. NSR

    Dodd = Unwinnable
    Dorgan = Unwinnable
    Ritter = Unwinnable

    I hope Frank, Reid, Pelosi, HOYER and the others are taking note.

    January 6, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. goofy

    Gonna be a lot more unwinnablesafter the dems ham handed "forcing their agenda on America"!!

    January 6, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Mike

    More rats leave the demorats party before we can vote them out. Oh well, at least they are leaving.

    January 6, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. German,Irish American

    Remember who fought Bush's recommendations for stricter regulations on Fannie and Freddie, and a new SEC chairman? Yep, Chris Dodd, Charlie Rangle, Barack Obama and just about all of the Democrats along with some Republicans. Follow the money, Dodd is the leading recipient of money from Frannie and Freddie, with Obama a close second after only TWO YEARS in office. Dodd, Rangle and Obama all said that Fannie and Freddie were fiscally sound six months before they collapsed. They accused Bush of fear mongering and prejudiced against minorities for suggesting a tighter reign on lending from these two GSE's. So what does the press and the hate speech liberals do? They put the people who believe in these failed policies in unrestricted control of the US government, so they can further implement their failed economic policies.

    January 6, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. db

    Could have something to do with all of that "transparency" on the health care bill (see related story about the final details being hammered out behind closed doors.)

    January 6, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Orange Curtain, CA

    He got a good deal on a loan. Big deal. You Teabagger – too ashamed to admit to being Republican – slimeballs can notch another victory to the Wall Street elitists and financial regulatory reform demise. Good luck with your Limbaugh ClusterFaux News hate agenda.

    January 6, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. Stevo

    Here's the good news about all these senators and congress members retiring. We FINALLY get some new blood.

    Hopefully with all these old AARP reps leaving, we can get less partisin action and some more modern thinking. Good riddance to the old guard – republican and democrat alike.

    It's a new century. It's time to update the way we do business and the way we treat each other.

    January 6, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Michael from Ventura

    Chris Dodd has done many great things for America. Some of his later decisions has not set well with some of us, but we thank him for his service and unquestionable love for this Country.

    January 6, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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