Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the embattled Connecticut Democrat who was facing an increasingly tough bid for a sixth term in the Senate, has decided to step aside and not seek re-election, Democrats familiar with his plans said Wednesday.
Mr. Dodd, 65, will announce his decision at a news conference later in the day in Connecticut.
The decision came a day after another Democratic senator, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, said that he would not seek re-election this November. The developments underscored the fragility of the Democrats’ 60-vote Senate majority, enough to block Republican filibusters. Democratic incumbents also face serious challenges in Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania among other states.
In this case, Mr. Dodd was already considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats facing re-election this November, and party officials had been privately hoping he would step aside. His move opens the way for the state’s highly popular attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, to run. Democrats and Republicans said he would be a much stronger candidate in what is a Democratic state.
Mr. Dodd’s decision was first reported by The Washington Post, and later confirmed by his associates. As of early Wednesday morning, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, had not heard from Mr. Dodd about his decision, according to aides to Mr. Reid.
Mr. Dodd has been a fixture in the Senate since his election in 1980. But his standing in his state had been on the decline starting when he made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2008 — moving his family to Iowa — and amid questions about a disputed loan he took from Countrywide Financial, the fallen subprime company. Mr. Dodd has been the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee during the economic meltdown.
Over the last two years, Mr. Dodd has played a prominent role in responding to the financial crisis as the chairman of the Senate banking committee. He proposed a financial overhaul on Nov. 10 that included consolidating bank regulators, creating a consumer financial protection agency and imposing new restraints on exotic financial instruments and credit rating agencies.
Thanks to the ineptitude of the Obama administration 2010 should be a huge year for Republicans, despite what Michael Steele thinks. Dodd, a huge contributor to our present-day financial mess. knew that he didn't have a snowball's chance of getting re-elected so he took the coward's way out.