Christine Stuart photo
Once Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, arrived at the Connecticut Convention Center Friday, she thanked Democrats for helping shift the balance of power in Congress by electing Congressmen Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy to the House of Representatives.

Pelosi, whose flight from Washington DC was delayed a few hours, told the room full of 1,400 party faithful awaiting her arrival that Congress must expand its victories and take back the White House in 2008.

Before Pelosi’s arrival Nancy DiNardo, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party thanked last year’s candidates starting with Ned Lamont for their contribution. DiNardo thanked Lamont for the energy he brought to the campaign and the voters he brought to the polls. Lamont received a partial standing ovation and many in the crowd chanted, “Ned, Ned, Ned!”

Not unlike previous years many in attendance used the annual gathering to garner support for their campaigns.

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd made it clear to his supporters and the media that he’s going to continue his race for president. “I’m gonna stay in this race and I intend to be the nominee of the party,” Dodd said.

Christine Stuart photo

At a press conference before dinner Dodd commented some on the war in Iraq. He said there’s no military solution in Iraq. “Success is going to be determined by what the Iraqi’s do. It’s up to them to seize the opportunity.”

As for his presidential run, he said he has not intention of dropping out of the race. His supporters were out in force trying to get as many people as possible signed up on his email list. They also waived signs out front of the Convention Center and sported Dodd for President tee-shirts.

Their only other presidential competition seemed to be from the Barack Obama folks who also used the event to gain grassroots support for their candidate who was speaking at Boston University Friday. One blogger pointed out that Hillary Clinton’s grassroot movement was no where to be found Friday.

U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, who was elected independently last November was no where in sight. When asked what kind of reception his colleague would receive if he showed up at the event, Dodd said Joe’s been a friend to many of us over the years. He said while many of us disagree with him on the war, “I think many people here would give him a warm reception.”

But there were no pictures of Lieberman up on the projection screens and there were no public comments made in any of the speeches.

Other candidates of note were Jim Himes, Greenwich DTC Chairman and state Rep. Jim Shapiro, D-Stamford.

Himes made his candidacy against Congressman Chris Shays official this week and Shapiro said Friday he is still considering entering the fourth Congressional race. Click here to see Himes’ live blog on My Left Nutmeg. Click here for their coverage on Shapiro.

Other politics at play may have been summed up in a button: “Blumenthal…at last,” and at least one guy had on a button that said, “Sticking with Joe.”