Wednesday’s Headlines: Democratic Senators Dodd and Dorgan to Retire

BY Alicia Lozano  January 6, 2010 at 8:42 AM EDT

Sen. Christopher Dodd; Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

–Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, Conn., has decided not to seek re-election in November. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.)

Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd, a five-term Democrat and chair of the Senate Banking Committee, has decided not to seek re-election, according to multiple sources. Two other Democrats also will not seek re-election: North Dakota Sen. Byron L. Dorgan and Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. Dodd and Ritter will formally announce their decisions in separate press conferences later Wednesday morning.

Dodd was considered among party leaders as the weakest leak leading up to the November elections and some hoped privately that he would not seek a sixth term, according to the New York Times.

Since his election in 1980, Dodd has been at the center of several contentious debates in the Senate, namely health care reform and financial regulation. His standing in Connecticut began to slip in 2008 after a failed bid for the presidency, during which he relocated his family to Iowa. [He also faced tough criticism](http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25140560/) after questions arose about two loans he received from the fallen subprime company Countrywide Financial. Connecticut’s popular Democratic attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, has decided to run for Dodd’s vacated seat, [reported the Associated Press](http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/01/06/us/AP-CT-DoddRetirement-Bl.html). Dorgan’s decision not to seek a fourth term was more of a shock to Democrats, [reported Politico](http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31184.html). He wasn’t facing any serious opposition in North Dakota yet, however the state’s popular Republican governor, John Hoeven, was considering a bid and appeared to be leading in early polls. In a memo to his staff, Dorgan assured them that he was neither shying away from competition, nor expressing dissatisfaction with his job performance. Instead, Dorgan said, “The truth is in recent months, even as I have prepared for a reelection campaign, I have wrestled with the question of whether I really wanted to make a commitment to serve another seven years in the Senate.” Read a statement by Dorgan [here](http://dorgan.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=321298). In Colorado, Ritter has faced declining popularity since he was elected in 2006, when Denver hosted the Democratic National Election. [The Washington Post is reporting](http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/governors/colorado-gov-ritter-to-retire.html) that Democrats are likely to turn to Andrew Romanoff, a former state house speaker, or Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to replace Ritter. Democrats will now try to retain 11 seats in the November elections, as well as their super-majority in the U.S. Senate where they currently have 60 seats. Republicans also have 11 open seats nationwide. We’ll have much more on the announcements throughout the day here on The Rundown and on tonight’s program. Stay tuned.