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The Who, What, When And How of A Dodd Exit Strategy

The rumor mill was rampant last week with murmurs that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who trails Republicans in every public poll testing his re-election prospects, might be ready to announce he will retire instead of seek another term next year. Although Democratic leadership aides and those close to Dodd insist he is running for re-election and his fundraising is still strong, there’s no harm in dissecting a possible exit plan for the endangered Nutmeg State Senator.

**How Does He Go?** If Dodd were to resign from office (again, party insiders say it’s still unlikely at this point), most Democrats agree he would leave for a post in the administration. The state legislature and Gov. Jodi Rell (R) passed a law this summer that removed the governor’s appointment powers. If Dodd leaves before his term is up, the Democratic-controlled state legislature will pick a successor to serve until January 2011.

**When Does He Leave?:** According to the Connecticut Secretary of State’s office, the filing deadline is 4pm on June 8, 2010. More importantly, Democrats cannot and likely will not wait this long. If Dodd is going to announce a resignation or retirement, he will have to do so much earlier than June in order for candidates to raise the necessary funds. Fundraisers familiar with the state say that a candidate would need to get into the race in March at the latest in order to begin raising a large sum of money for a competitive campaign.

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