Chris Dodd is gone - the latest victim of the derailed Hope & Change Express!
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) plans to announce Wednesday that he will retire from the Senate at the end of the year, capping a 30-year career where he rose to become one of the chamber's most influential members, several Democratic sources told POLITICO Tuesday night.
How cool is that? One year after Hope & Change commenced, it is a ship that some of its most powerful members are jumping off.
Dodd’s decision to retire is, at first glance, a blessing to Senate Democrats who worried they would have trouble holding the seat with the embattled senator in the race. Now Democrats expect that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal will run in Dodd’s place, giving the party a stronger nominee in a race that was widely believed to be a toss-up.
Dodd is a lightening rod. There are few names that trigger as much emotion from activists in the Tea Party movement, now the most powerful political boil in the country.
With poll after poll showing Dodd trailing, it became increasingly clear that his candidacy was not salvageable. A senior Democratic official said Dodd's long-rumored, and always-denied, retirement plans were "inevitable - like gravity."
The irony can't be missed - Dodd was a close friend of Ted Kennedy, the much mourned Lion of the Senate last summer. The Dodd, and other retirements, occur on the same day that Republican Scott Brown is shown to be closing in on a possible upset to grab the seat Kennedy held for 47 years.
The news that Dodd would not seek re-election capped a day of Democratic retirements. Aside from Dodd and Dorgan, it was revealed that Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter would not run for re-election in 2010. And in Michigan, Lt. Gov. John Cherry announced Tuesday that he would be forgoing a run for governor.
Dodd shouldn't overshadow the other Democrat who has decided to walk away rather than be sent on his way?
Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, announced abruptly on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election this year – a clear sign of the difficulties Democrats will face in defending their large Congressional majorities in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Will the confidence of others in the senate facing angry constituents fail them the next time they vote on health reform.
Senator Byron Dorgan
Mr. Dorgan, who is completing his third term, has been regarded for months as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents. North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, a popular Republican, has been weighing a run for Senate, and polls indicated he would easily defeat Mr. Dorgan.
After 18 years, why fight history?
“Although I still have a passion for public service and enjoy my work in the Senate, I have other interests and I have other things I would like to pursue outside of public life,” Mr. Dorgan said in a statement released Tuesday evening. “I have written two books and have an invitation from a publisher to write two more books. I would like to do some teaching and would also like to work on energy policy in the private sector.”
Another signal from Massachusetts has to do with Governor Deval Patrick, David Axelrod's dry run for the Obama candidacy. Patrick is being trounced in fundraising by a former member of the Weld administration, Republican Charlie Baker.
In one of the most aggressive political fund-raising pushes in recent memory, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charles D. Baker has amassed a $1.85 million war chest over roughly five months of campaigning, tapping into a broad range of supporters and establishing himself as a major threat to Governor Deval Patrick’s reelection bid.
Patrick's only hope of winning election is that there is an independent in the race to split the anti-Deval vote.
Baker doubled, in less than half the time, what Patrick raised for the entirety of 2009, despite a fund-raising visit by President Obama this past fall for the Democratic governor. Baker’s coffers currently hold more than 10 times the amount in Patrick’s campaign account.
Good things are happening, and they're happening fast.