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Chris Dodd's Kitchen Cabinet

Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) formalized his plans to run the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination today, telling radio host Don Imus that he is a dark horse for the nomination but insisting he can compete with better-known candidates in the arena of ideas.

Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut
Dodd made his presidential plans official this week. Above, Dodd talks with Sen. John Kerry during a Senate committee hearing. (AP Photo)

Dodd's path from "who?" to "serious contender" will be guided by a stable of political advisers that represent a mix of old and new. Some -- like pollster Stan Greenberg and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) -- have been with Dodd for decades, while others -- Jim Jordan and Amos Hochstein -- are newcomers who were previously committed to ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

Here's a look at Dodd's Inner Circle:

* Rep. Rosa DeLauro: DeLauro is a longtime Dodd ally, serving as the senator's chief of staff for much of the 1980s before being elected to Congress in 1990. She is married to Stan Greenberg and will be one of the national co-chairs of the Dodd candidacy.

* Jim Jordan: A past executive director of Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and former campaign manager for Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential bid, Jordan originally signed on with Mark Warner for 2008. But Warner's departure left Jordan a free agent, and he chose Dodd because "he's easily and obviously the potential candidate who's most qualified for the job."

* Al Quinlan/Stan Greenberg: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the polling firm at which both Quinlan and Greenberg are partners, will handle the survey research for Dodd's bid as they have for the majority of his past races. Greenberg also happens to be married to DeLauro.

* Sheryl Cohen: Dodd's current chief of staff, Cohen's background is in fundraising where she is likely to concentrate for the national bid. Dodd insiders say he will show $5 million on hand in his 2006 year-end report, a sum that can be immediately transferred to a presidential bid.

* Doug Sosnik: One of the most highly regarded operatives in Democratic politics, Sosnik has ties to a number of candidates. He served as political director in the Clinton White House and is personal friends with Warner. But Sosnik also served as Dodd's chief of staff and has decided to advise his former boss's presidential effort.

* Matt Butler: Butler will be Dodd's deputy campaign manager. Most recently, he held that same position in the successful reelection bid of Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.). He also was a deputy campaign manager charged with handling operations for John Kerry's 2004 candidacy.

* Vince Frillici: Frillici has long handled Dodd's national fundraising program and will be finance director for the presidential race.

* Pat Hart: Hart, the campaign's research director, comes to Dodd from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He served as deputy research director in former Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential race.

* Beneva Schulte: Schulte will be Dodd's presidential communications director, having spent a number of years on Capitol Hill working for DeLauro and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.), among others.

* Amos Hochstein: Another free agent following Warner's surprising decision not to run for president, Hochstein will leave a job as executive vice president of Cassidy & Associates to join Dodd's team as policy director.

See also:

* Dan Balz's report on Dodd's candidacy.
* Dodd's Senate voting record.

Past Inner Circles:

* Sam Brownback (R)
* John Edwards (D)

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 11, 2007; 2:46 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Inner Circle  
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