November 3, 2004: Headlines: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Election2004 - Dodd: Congress: Journal Inquirer: U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd finds himself one of the most likely candidates to become the new Senate Democratic leader

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Dominican Republic: RPCV Chris Dodd (Dominican Republic) : RPCV Chris Dodd: Archived Stories: November 3, 2004: Headlines: COS - Dominican Republic: Politics: Election2004 - Dodd: Congress: Journal Inquirer: U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd finds himself one of the most likely candidates to become the new Senate Democratic leader

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U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd finds himself one of the most likely candidates to become the new Senate Democratic leader

U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd finds himself one of the most likely candidates to become the new Senate Democratic leader

U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd finds himself one of the most likely candidates to become the new Senate Democratic leader

Dodd invested in colleagues' campaigns
By Don Michak, Journal Inquirer November 03, 2004

HARTFORD -- U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd -- after trouncing the Republican novice who sought to deny him a fifth term -- today finds himself one of the most likely candidates to become the new Senate Democratic leader.
Moreover, Dodd's relatively generous disbursement of at least $234,000 in campaign contributions to key party committees and Senate candidates, including 11 re-elected incumbents and two newly-elected Democrats, may prove to have been a timely investment in his own political future.

Dodd lost by a single vote in his 1994 bid for the prestigious and powerful post to U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was defeated Tuesday by a Republican, former U.S. Rep. John Thune.

The Hill, one of the three Washington, D.C., newspapers catering to political junkies, has speculated that a Daschle defeat would set off a leadership struggle within the Democratic caucus. It cited unnamed party sources who said Dodd, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois could be pushed into "open conflict."

One scenario spun by insiders had Dodd taking the reins for an interim period, with Clinton as his deputy.

Dodd is close to Clinton and while serving as Democratic National Committee chairman in 1996 earned kudos for a rousing speech at the party's national convention nominating her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a second term.

Reid, who easily won a new term Tuesday, reportedly had signaled in advance that he would try to move up from his job as minority whip if Daschle lost.

Dodd insisted after his victory Tuesday that it was too early to talk about whether he was interested in the leadership post, but added that his best service "may come from doing what I've done for years, working with individuals on issues."

The senator already may have let his money do his talking, however.

Dodd raised about $7 million in campaign funds since 1999 and still had about $3 million left in the till by the middle of last month, according to Federal Election Commission records.

But reports filed at the same time with the FEC by a political action committee established separately from Dodd's campaign committee, the Citizens for Hope Responsibility Independence and Service PAC, show he also was able to funnel $50,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

CHRISPAC sent off another $20,000 to party committees in four states with contested Senate races, including South Dakota, where Daschle battled Thune.

Dodd's leadership PAC also contributed another $10,000 to Daschle's campaign committee.

Perhaps more important, CHRISPAC gave $10,000 to Patty Murray of Washington, $7,000 to Blanche Lambert Lincoln of Arkansas, and $5,000 each to Reid and Dorgan, as well as to Evan Bayh of Indiana, Barbara Boxer of California, Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, Charles E. Schumer of New York, Roland Lee Wyden of Oregon, and Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin. All were incumbents and all were re-elected.

Similarly, Dodd's PAC contributed $10,000 to the campaign of Ken Salazar of Colorado and $7,000 to that of Barack Obama of Illinois, both of whom were elected Tuesday.

CHRISPAC also invested in the campaigns of eight more Senate candidates who lost their election bids. It gave $10,000 each to Tony Knowles in Alaska, Chris John in Louisiana, Brad R. Carson in Oklahoma, and Betty Castor in Florida. It sent $9,000 to Nancy Farmer in Missouri, and $7,000 each to Joseph M. Hoffel in Pennsylvania and Inez Moore Tennenbaum in South Carolina, and $5,000 each to Erskine B. Bowles in North Carolina and Denise Majette in Georgia.

Dodd on Tuesday became the first Connecticut senator elected by voters to a fifth term, easily defeating admitted underdog Jack C. Orchulli.

Orchulli is a wealthy businessman from Darien and political newcomer who lent his campaign $1.3 million.

The son of a U.S. senator, Dodd was a third-term congressman when he was first elected to the Senate in 1980. Last year he considered running for president, but after mulling it over for several months he opted out, citing family obligations and his desire to stay in the Senate.

"This is a further chance to do what I can to deal with the issues that are far more important than who wins elections," Dodd said. "I want to break through the incredible chasm that exists between the Democrats and Republicans, and do whatever I can to kick down those doors of partisanship and build bridges."

With 95 percent of the precincts reporting, Dodd had 872,450 votes, or 66 percent, and Orchulli had 429,793 votes, or 33 percent. Concerned Citizens candidate Timothy Knibbs had 10,578 votes and Libertarian Leonard Rasch had 8,263 votes.

A former fashion company executive, Orchulli, 58, was co-owner and chief executive officer of the Michael Kors design label. He sold his interest in the clothing line more than a year ago and is now retired.

Orchulli said he has no regrets in challenging Dodd.

"I know it was a longshot, and I'm very pleased with the fact that we were able to go through the whole campaign, organized and staying on message," he said.

Orchulli said he was not ruling out another stab at politics, mentioning U.S. Senate or governor as the seats that interest him the most.

"I've built some name recognition. I have a base to build on," he said. "There's no reason for me to go away."

Polls consistently showed that Orchulli faced an insurmountable battle against Dodd, one of Connecticut's most popular politicians.

An Associated Press exit poll found that Dodd got broad support from voters of all ages, incomes, and political bents, including three in 10 voters who identified themselves as Republicans.

Orchulli got support from the most ardent supporters of President Bush, and from people who most strongly approved of the war in Iraq.

There were few undecided voters in the waning days of the campaign. Eight in 10 voters said they made up their minds for the Senate race more than a month ago.

If Dodd completes his six-year term, he will be the state's longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate. Orville H. Platt, a Republican from Meriden, now holds the record. He served from 1879 to 1905.

Dodd, 60, is the longest-serving Connecticut senator popularly elected. Before 1914, state legislatures elected the senators, including Platt.

This report includes contributions from the Associated Press and Journal Inquirer Staff Writer Heather Collins.

©Journal Inquirer 2004

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Story Source: Journal Inquirer

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Dominican Republic; Politics; Election2004 - Dodd; Congress



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