HARTFORD, Conn. -- Joe Biden is on the verge of making one of the biggest decisions of his long political career, and he has turned to former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd to help him make the crucial choice.
Dodd is serving as co-chairman of a special task force that is vetting candidates to be Biden's running mate. While three other co-chairs are helping in the process, none of them has the deep personal friendship and political ties that Dodd has with Biden, officials said.
Dodd has said he served in the trenches for 30 years "on a daily basis" with Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and on the Senate floor on a wide variety of issues and political battles. Dodd is now 76 years old, and Biden is 77.
They joined together in Connecticut last fall at one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for Biden's presidential campaign at Gov. Ned Lamont's Greenwich home, where Dodd stood side by side with Biden and pledged his support for the campaign.
"I'm going to dedicate the next 13 months of my life," Dodd told the crowd at the time. "I don't want to wake up on the day after the election in 2020 and think I didn't do enough."
While others have been raising money and plotting strategy, Dodd has spent long hours on the vice presidential vetting process, colleagues said. Dodd declined to comment for this article and is refusing all interviews in order to preserve the confidentiality of the selection, according to two close associates who have spoken to him.
But widespread media reports say national figures such as Sen. Kamala Harris of California and former national security adviser Susan Rice are in the running in a high-profile pick that could be announced before Aug. 1.
While the behind-the-scenes deliberations are secret, Biden tweeted on March 15 that "my running mate will be a woman."
Former state Democratic Chairman John Droney, an attorney who has been involved in multiple campaigns, said Dodd is clearly a close confidant of Biden who is "the first among equals" on the team helping to choose the candidate in a delicate process that is often marked by political jockeying and outsized egos.
"Secrecy is very, very important," Droney said. "The people who are potential candidates are often the ones who leak things to advance their own interests. There are some things that you can't control, but the things you can control, you keep a pretty tight lid on it."