January 6th, 2010
04:55 PM ET
4 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. Enough

    No kidding.....they needed to tell him that? Reason enough to vote out all these corrupt fools.............When is Charlie Rangel going to prison?

    January 6, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Rickster

    Another blind lemming following the disastrous Barry Obama over the cliff. Obama is the best thing ever to happen to the Republican Party.

    January 6, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. inofritzn

    Liberals don't get it and I bet this still will not sink it in. Dems aren't all crazy lefties that want to rely on the gov., not all dems like uncontrolled spending, not all dems like being taxed to death,not all dems like being told what they can and can't do in life, and some dems will hold liberal loons(Dudd) accountable.

    January 6, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Matt

    Hey Dodd how about returning all the money that was donated to your campaign back instead of stealing it before you leave.

    Typical Democrat Theif.

    January 6, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Silence Dogoode

    So when do we also oust Rangel? He's a much bigger crook! Dodd knows that Bloomenthal will get the nod for CT dems...he just doesn't want a butt whoopin'

    January 6, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    I hope the Dems nominate a true progressive populist, someone who will work with President Obama to get the much-needed work of the American people DONE!

    January 6, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. LacrosseMom

    Wow........ Dodd the Senator that the GOPers love to hate! Well, they hate all Liberals.

    To the GOP:

    People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    January 6, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom

    PS. Anyone remember the NEW Democratic Congressman from the New York congressional district that had not voted for a Democrat in over 100 years?

    And the other new Democratic congressman from CA?

    And this in the recent November 2009 elections.

    GOP don't get too sure about 2010, America will surprise you!

    January 6, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Tony

    All the Dums should be quitting soon. The thing that burns me the most, is they know the country hates them for being corrupt and jamming socilaism down our throats, along with the usual liberal tax and spend. But they don't care....they get what they deserve. Now we just need Mass. to elect the repub on 1/19 or for one of the Dem Senators to either smarten up or pass away (either one would work for the country).

    January 6, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Counting Chickens Yet?

    Well looks like the Democratic party will keep this seat now that Dodd has done the right thing.

    January 6, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Joe M

    Just one step ahead of the sheriff who has brand new hancuffs for this stumble but.....WOW ...Kennedy in 2009, Dodd in 2010 and Obozo in 2012...now if Barney would leave it could not get any better than that.

    January 6, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Chas in Iowa

    The Democrats and the GOP have many long term congressman and senators that need to follow Dodd and give it up.
    Most have been corrupted by lobbyist and special intrest groups to the point they no longer have a constituency that they represent.
    The long term senators in the GOP have however taken the tact that they will continue to move the party farther and farther to the right condeming it to a long slow death as those people still considered members of the GOP are disenfranchised to the point that they either change affiliation to independant or quit partisipating altogether in our system.

    As long as Darth and Dopey are the spokesman for the GOP there is no hope for the party to move into the 21st century.

    January 6, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Patrick

    Lots of hate for Democrats and the Democratic representatives in this thread. No mention at all about how they are actually serving the public and trying to right things after eight years of trainwreck. Had there been oversight of the banking industry for years, there wouldn't have been need for a bailout. The neocons who are reacting to this news sure do have short memories. It's the lack of governance, as proscribed by the Milton Friedman fundies that got us into this mess. You don't like it, but the democratic representatives are doing what we must do to fix things. And yes, they will pay the price at the polls, but they are doing it because it's right and they are responsible adults as opposed to children who just say "NO!"

    January 6, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. Confused

    In the House, 14 GOP incumbents have decided not to seek re-election, while 10 Democratic incumbents have made the same announcement.
    In the Senate, six Republican incumbents have decided not to seek re-election, while two Democratic incumbents have made the same announcement.

    OH MAN THOSE DEMS ARE JUST JUMPING SHIP

    January 6, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Brad - California

    And these idiots are just figuring this out??? Most of the US house and senate are poster children for why we NEED limits.

    January 6, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Tia Lively

    Dodd could likely be reelected but for his support of the corrupt "healthcare reform" bill that will ruin our country.

    January 6, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. The Other Michael in Houston

    The guy is a crook. What did he expect? And while some of you are bashing the Democrat party, and they rightfully deserve it, the Republican so called party of values is no better. Both parties are horrible. Let's look at the current frame work, we have a bunch of Democrats who at best are freaking idiots who are scared of their own shawdow and mouth breathing Republicans, who act like 2000 to 2008 did not exist. Everyone of them should be stripped of their citizenship and kick out of my country. How about getting rid of all of them and putting people in Washington that actually care more about people than greed.

    January 6, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. aware

    Chicago thuggery hits home! :)

    January 6, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Mike1952

    This crook will never get what he deserves.......a conviction and jail time.

    January 6, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Jeff from Chicago

    This is good for the country.

    If I was like a democrat, I would be asking why he was not going to jail, but since I am a republican, all I can say is let's all be thankful he is retiring.

    Maybe we can elect someone who is actually for the people and not following party lines and just trying to win one for their party, (like most of the politicians are doing today!)

    January 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Hammerer

    Dodd will receive enough cash from the insurance industry to move to another country and live large and not need to face the Americans that he stole from and sold out. A real politican in every sense of the word, corrupt to the core!

    January 6, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. alphonso

    lets face it there are crooks in both parties.i am a dem who is willing to admit this.but u repubs r not willing 2 admit this !get real!

    January 6, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Dodd Democrat

    These people turned their backs on Senator Dodd and forced him to retire, after decades of great service.

    They could have supported him and helped him win, instead they threw him under the bus and decided to go with the new guy, who will now be under their pocket.

    Senator Dodd has done so much for this state and the Democrats.....it is going to be so sad to see him go.

    Thank you Sentor Dodd for everything you have done for the people of this state.

    January 6, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Just about every race is going to be "virtually unwinnable" by any Dem who votes for the final health care rip-off.

    January 6, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. Larry

    Rightfully so his reelection wasn't winable.

    He's one of Washington's most corrupt politicans and the first of many that will fall in the coming years.

    The people of Connecticut got smart.

    January 6, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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