Friend of Angelo, Senator Chris Dodd has decided not to seek re-election.
Word of Dodd’s retirement plans comes after months of speculation about his political future, his faltering poll numbers and a growing sense among the Democratic establishment that he could not win a sixth term in the Senate. The news also came on the same day Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced he would not seek reelection.
Once among the safest of incumbents, Dodd’s political star fell over a two-year period, during which he moved his family to Iowa to pursue the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and was linked to a VIP mortgage loan program overseen by a controversial Wall Street financier. He also drew harsh questions about his oversight of Wall Street, as chair of the Senate Banking Committee, in the years when the nation’s financial system was heading toward near collapse.
Dodd’s poll numbers plummeted last spring before rebounding somewhat over the summer. But another dive in the polls late last year led to widespread concern that Dodd needed to vacate the seat for Democrats to have a chance at retaining it in the 2010 elections.
Dodd’s announcement comes on the heels of North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgon’s surprise announcement that he won’t seek another term.
In both cases, Harry Reid was the last person to know.