Your Ad Here

WASHINGTON (Reuters) –Veteran Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd said on Wednesday he will not seek re-election inovember in recognition that he faced an uphill battle and underscoring upheaval facing President Barack Obama's Democrats.Dodd, 65, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and leader of a financial regulations overhaul in the Senate, has been dogged by questions over his financial industry connections and was trailing badly in polls in his home state of Connecticut.Wall Street was looking for clues as to how hard Dodd, in his remaining year in office, would push for a financial regulation revamp that banking lobbyists and Republicans are fighting. The White House said Obama spoke to Dodd and believes he will continue efforts to pass the overhaul."Knowing Senator Dodd and the passionate advocate that he is, We think he will continue to work hard and want to get this done by the end of the year, as the president does too," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.Benny Lorenzo, CEO of Kaufman Bros., a boutique investment bank and advisory firm inew York, said Dodd's move could "free him to be more assertive" in seeking regulatory changes.Dodd's announcement followed by one day the surprise announcement by Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan that he would not seek re-election inorth Dakota.Dodd, speaking at his home in East Haddam, Connecticut, said he found himself in the "toughest political shape of our career."While insisting it was "absurd" to write him off inovember, "Ultimately, We came to the conclusion that in the long sweep of American history, there are moments for each elected public official to step aside and let someone else step up.""This is our moment to step aside," he said.Dodd is giving way to an expected bid for his seat by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Republicans conceded that Democratic chances will improve with Blumenthal in the race.Two Senate Democratic sources indicated that South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson is in a strong position to take Dodd's place next year as chairman of the Banking Committee.Johnson has been on the mend from a brain hemorrhage three years ago and won a third six-year term in 2008 with 63 percent of the vote.PERSONAL DECISIONA Senate Democratic leadership aide said Dodd's decision not to seek re-election was a personal one that he reached without prodding from other party members.Dodd thanked voters for their confidence over the years and acknowledged their doubts, noting "there have been times when our positions and actions have caused some of you to question that confidence."Dodd's departure will leave a large hole. Besides financial regulations, he has had a lead role in pushing Obama's healthcare agenda and has backed an uphill battle to win passage of legislation to stem global warming."While his work in the Senate is not yet finished, his leadership in that institution will be missed," Obama said in a statement.The party that holds the White House usually loses congressional seats in the first election after a new president takes power, and public opinion polls indicate this could happen again as Americans express frustration at the weak U.S. economy.Democrats are trying to hang on to strong majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives in 2010 congressional elections and many pundits predict Republican gains.Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said having two veteran Democratic senators announce they will not seek new terms within 24 hours of each other "dealt a psychological blow" to their party.But Duffy said the dual actions may prove to be somewhat of a wash on Election Day -- Democrats hanging on to the Connecticut seat while dropping theorth Dakota one.UPHILL FIGHTDorgan announced on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election. Polls showed that like Dodd he also