After longtime Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd announced he would not be running for another term Democrats were hopeful that they could retain his seat. Connecticut’s longest-serving Senator has played an important role in the party since he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. Over the years, Dodd served in a few powerful positions for his party including Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. After several controversies with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Countrywide Financial loans I was thankful that Dodd decided to retire. Those who remembered the Senator’s father Thomas J. Dodd, who also served in the United States Senate, worried that his son would leave behind a similar legacy. While Thomas Dodd was a long-time respected politician, but a campaign financing scandal severely hurt his reputation. The Senator attempted to run for office for the final time in 1970 as an Independent, but lost to the Republican candidate.
Dodd’s open seat has received national attention when Linda McMahon announced her candidacy for Senate September 16, 2009. Concerns raised over McMahon’s utter lack of political experience seem to be the least of the issues with her candidacy. The former CEO of the World Wrestling Entertainment made it clear that she was willing to buy her seat by spending up $50 million of her own money. With a plethora of television ads, pamphlets, and “robo” calls it appeared early on that McMahon would be able win the election against the popular attorney general Richard Blumenthal. Anyone involved in political campaigns could tell you that funds play a crucial role in the success or failure of a candidate. However, McMahon’s campaign has proved that it takes more than money to win over voters. Connecticut residents have expressed annoyance with the literature arriving in their mailboxes daily and the frequent automated calls. We should be reassured that voters don’t necessarily chose the candidate with the most money, but November 2nd will be the real test. It will be interesting to see the outcome of other heavily funded races and the impact that money truly has on our democracy.