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Dodd '08 Pulls Off Big Win in Talent Primary

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has been relatively quiet of late about his 2008 ambitions. But no more, as today Dodd signed on Jim Jordan to serve as a senior adviser to his nascent presidential bid.

Jordan is best known as the campaign manager for the early stages of Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential bid (he was replaced in late 2003). But he has a long history in campaign politics. He served as the executive director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2002 cycle and as political director for the DSCC in the 2000 cycle. Jordan was serving as an adviser to ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) as he contemplated a presidential run but became a free agent when Warner decided against the race earlier this fall.

"He's easily and obviously the potential candidate who's most qualified for the job," said Jordan of Dodd. "He's the most interesting, charming, bright and decent person I've met in this business, and his political skills are absolutely first rate."

Jordan joins a small inner circle of Dodd political advisers that includes Sheryl Cohen, his Senate chief of staff, and pollster Al Quinlan, among others. Jordan will be tasked with growing Dodd's political organization in the coming months.

With the departures of Warner and Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.) from the Democratic field, Dodd is one of the potential beneficiaries. The biggest question facing him is whether he can raise the tens of millions necessary to run a national campaign.

Dodd is the incoming chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, which should give him a nice fundraising foothold among the banking world. And he hails from the affluent state of Connecticut. Dodd also had $1.9 million in his Senate account at the end of September -- all of which could be transferred to a presidential committee.

For Dodd, how much money he can raise in the first three months of 2007 will be a key early test of his viability. He must show an ability to compete not necessarily with the Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), who undoubtedly will be in a financial class of their own, but rather with former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) and Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.).

Dodd, who is currently in his fifth Senate term, is next up for reelection in 2010.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 21, 2006; 4:04 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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