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Though Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has for a long time been interested in clamping down on what he sees as misleading practices by credit card issuers, his current political challenges make the fight especially timely.Although he has been in Congress since 1975 and represents a strongly Democratic state (it hasn’t elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1982), Dodd could face his toughest race ever when he seeks a sixth term in the Senate next year.Dodd could be in trouble because of some ethical missteps-including getting a favorable rate on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial Corp. in part because of his friendship with then-CEO Angelo Mozilo-and the perception that he was too slow to use his chairmanship of a key committee to react when the economic collapse began.In 2007 and early 2008, Dodd was frequently absent from Capitol Hill during his ill-fated run for the Democratic nomination for president. He moved his family to Iowa-the site of the firstdelegate-selection contest-and enrolled his children in school there.He also received negative attention for sponsoring a provision exempting previously negotiated bonuses from recently approved restrictions on executive pay for officials of companies receiving TARP money.A poll released last month showed him with a 33% approval rating and also indicated that he trailed all three of the most frequently mentioned GOP candidates: state Sen. Sam Caligiuri, former ambassador Thomas Foley, and former U.S. Rep. Ron Simmons. But Dodd would go into the race able to raise a considerable amount of money because his committee regulates the financial services industry.At the end of March, he had $1.5 million in his campaign coffers.He has generally had a friendly relationship with credit unions and from 20003-2008 he received $35,500 from individuals and political action committees with ties to credit unions. During that time, Dodd raised $8.9 million overall.–[email protected]

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