Dodd yet to declare bid

This article has been corrected. You may view this article’s correction here.

By all accounts, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd is vulnerable.

With 20 months until he is up for re-election, Dodd has yet to announce whether he will seek another term. And the five-term senator’s prospects are by no means positive — he is suffering in the polls and is recovering from political scandal. But the uncertainty regarding Dodd’s candidacy transcends his career alone; many Democrats are anxious about the political ramifications of his delay.

“Chris Dodd’s poll numbers are of concern,” Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz ’83 said in a telephone interview with the News this week. “I am also concerned about the Republicans getting a head start in the race.”

(Although none have yet announced officially, two Republican contenders have come forward saying they are considering running for the seat.)

While Dodd — the son of former Connecticut Sen. Thomas Dodd — remains the prodigal son of Connecticut liberals, a February Quinnipiac University poll showed he is losing support among the moderates and independents he needs to secure reelection.

Kenneth Dautrich, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut, said in an interview with the News this week that since only 30 percent of eligible voters in Connecticut are registered as Democrats, Dodd will likely face difficulty running in the general election.

“Dodd is a target,” said Dautrich. “While I think he would overcome a potential primary challenge because of his support amongst registered democrats, he doesn’t have the much needed support of independents, which make up the plurality of voters.”

Doug Schwartz, Director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in an e-mail to the News that Dodd’s 41 percent approval rating is particularly troubling.

“Dodd is vulnerable in the general election because whenever an incumbent’s job approval falls below 50%, the incumbent is vulnerable,” he said.

Dautrich said allegations concerning a 2003 mortgage from now the defunct Countrywide Financial are alienating him from moderate voters. Dodd allegedly received a “sweetheart” deal on the mortgage with VIP service and a below market rate because of his position as Chairman of the Senate Banking and Finance Committee.

Although Dodd released ­­­­­­­­­­­hundreds of documents to the press last month as well as an audit reported purportedly clearing him of error, the same Quinnipiac poll showed most Connecticut residents are still concerned by his involvement.

Bysciewicz, who is considering running for governor in 2010, said that while she does not know for certain if Dodd would seek reelection, she encouraged him to make up his mind soon, and announce his intentions.

“If I secure the nomination of my party, I want the strongest possible Democrat on the ticket with me,” she said. “If [Dodd] is running, he needs to announce and he needs to meet with constituents.”

While he has yet to officially announce his candidacy, Dodd Press Secretary Brian DeAngelis implied in a statement to the News this week that Dodd is likely to seek reelection.

“When the time comes, Senator Dodd will be ready with a vigorous, well-funded re-election campaign,” he said. “Now is the time for leadership and that is why Senator Dodd is focused on helping Connecticut families get out of this economic crisis and hardship.”

Though in 2003 Dodd waited to announce his re-election campaign until March of that year — ruling out a possible Presidential run — this election cycle, there does not appear to be a reason for the delay. Dodd’s campaign treasury also appears lower than most other Democratic incumbents running in 2010, with about $670,000 in the bank.

Nevertheless, State Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said in a telephone interview with the News Thursday that she thought Dodd ultimately would run.

“The Senator has not told me that he is not seeking reelection,” she said. “I believe he has not declared his candidacy because he is busy working in Washington on issues concerning Connecticut residents, where he has been involved in everything from healthcare reform to dealing with the economy.”

The Republican party is not wasting time waiting for Dodd to decide his fate. Former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons of Stonington has publicly mentioned he may run for Dodd’s seat in 2010, and CNBC anchor and economist Larry Kudlow confirmed that he is strongly considering running to Politico this week.

When contacted by the News through a spokeswoman, Kudlow declined to comment Tuesday, while Simmons could not be reached for comment.

Dodd was first elected in 1980, and most recently defeated Republican Jack Orchulli in 2004 by a two to one margin.


  • Anonymous

    Dodd wasn't reelected in 2006…it was 2004. This piece is sloppy.

  • Robert

    Good Lord I hope Doddering Dodd is "vulnerable!"
    As one of the primary architects of the collapse of the mortgage industry, by forcing Fannie Mae to accept worthless "sub-prime" mortages.
    It's worse than ironic that he would now claim to be "working to solve" the crisis he and Barney Frank created.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, given that there's not much of a news peg here, I'm surprised by how little context we're given. There's so much Henny-Penny back-and-forth from various state experts about how much trouble he's in that we're left to guess at why Dodd's fortunes have changed so much since he stomped his '04 challenger. Did people not know about the Countrywide thing then? What makes Dodd a "prodigal" senator's son? Did the Qpac poll find that people still blame him significantly for the financial crisis? Were their views dimmed by his awful presidential campaign? Speaking of the financial crisis, can you believe Larry "Irrational Exuberance" Kudlow wants to run against him?

    There's still an interesting story here. Try again.

  • DamnCat

    "Although Dodd released ­­­­­­­­­­­hundreds of documents to the press last month…"

    No he didn't. He briefly displayed some documents to a select group of reporters who were not allowed to make copies or take detailed notes.

  • Mark Buehner

    Sloppy indeed. Dodd didn't release those documents by any reasonable definition of the word. He allowed a brief period for reporters to view them, but not to take any pictures or notes. Much less allowing copies to be made. Obviously this is completely insufficient to demonstrate Dodd's culpability one way or the other. This farce shows Dodd's disdain for the intelligence of the media and the voters.

  • Billy Hollis

    "This farce shows Dodd's disdain for the intelligence of the media and the voters."

    Based on the gullible acceptance of Dodd's slant on the situation by this reporter, that disdain is fully warranted.

    We'll have to wait until 2010 to find out if his disdain for voters is warranted.

  • **Natural Law Dude**

    There exists at least one way for Sen. Dodd to easily get reelected….Actually it's a no-brainer.

    Note: This would require the Senator to, shall we say, 'reinvent himself' & manifest all of the qualities of being an 'independent thinker' in contrast to some of his other senatorial colleagues.

    That could be achieved via a couragious & sincere mea culpa--a 180 degree about face--on pro-life matters (i.e. by adopting a 100% 'sanctity of life' stance)#.

    One would be quite amazed about how many citizens of the State of CT belong to faith communities that espouse just such a stance.

    Should such a potential scenario take root, surely all would be forgiven concerning that CountryWide stuff (not to mention moving to Iowa etc…).

    **Artists for Life**

    # see Sen. Casey(D)PA

  • John

    An Open Appeal to the Good People Of CT - from the remaining 49 US States.

    Please DO NOT SEND Senator Dodd back to the US Senate. His involvement with Fannie/Freddie is a pure disgrace which has been much cause to the housing - economic breakdown…not to mention Countrywide. Now - as he 'fakes' being upset over the AIG bonus's…we are learning he is the main reason for it - adding verbiage to the stimulus bill that has guaranteed such payments? Now I ask you - why would he add to the bill via a ammendment "Bonus's will be reviewed - except those that were contractually obligated prior to February 11th, 2009"? Could it be he was paid top dollar from AIG…geez..what a go-wink-e-dink…..HE WAS. Please send him to retirement….Sincerely….the Good People of the Remaining 49 US States.

  • flash

    Dodd has made it crystal clear that he is in the pocket of the financial gangsters. If he had any respect for the people of the United States (never mind Connecticut!) he would resign IMMEDIATELY.