Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Auf wiedersehen, Chris Dodd

Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, the most high-profile committee chair over the past couple of years, announced today that he will not run for another term this year.

As chairman of the Banking Committee, Dodd has presided over actions related to the recent financial crisis. In addition to that, during Senator Ted Kennedy's final illness, Dodd was acting chairman of the Health Committee. In that role, he oversaw the early stages of consideration of the health care legislation.

Last September, I wrote this post about the Senate election in Connecticut.

Dodd's withdrawal should be helpful to the Democrats. It will clear the way for the state's 63-year-old attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, to carry the Democratic banner, in a fairly strongly blue state, without Dodd's baggage.

Dodd was first elected to the House as part of the Democratic mid-term landslide of 1974, which occurred three months after Republican President Richard Nixon's resignation. Dodd moved up to the Senate six years later (that time, running counter to the 1980 Republican trend).

His election to the Senate was seen in part as vindication for his family. His father, Thomas Dodd, had been defeated in his run for a third term in the Senate, in 1970, after being implicated in a campaign finance scandal.

The son of another Democratic senator who failed of reelection in 1970, was elected to the Senate four years after Chris Dodd. Albert Gore, Sr., lost his Tennessee seat in 1970, not because of scandal, but due to the Republican tide that was sweeping over the South. Al Gore, Jr., was elected to the Senate in 1984 and, of course, later became vice president and, very nearly, president of the United States.

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