Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., has responded to a disappointing finish in the Iowa caucuses by giving up his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Tonight I am withdrawing from the presidential race,” Dodd said Thursday after the caucuses. “But let me assure you, we do not exit this race with our heads hanging–rather, we do so with our heads held high.”

Dodd finished the caucuses with less than 1% of the caucus vote and fewer votes than “uncommitted.”

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who won 1% of the vote, also decided to end his campaign for the nomination.

“Chris Dodd has been an outstanding public servant for more than 30 years,” Frank Keating, president of the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, says in a statement about Dodd’s decision to drop out of the primaries. “Whether as a presidential candidate or a leading member of the Senate, his dedication to assuring the strength of the American economy and enhancing the competitiveness of American businesses is unchallenged.”

The Center for Responsive Politics, Washington, says campaign contributors in the life, health and property-casualty insurance sectors had given Dodd $713,012 on or before Oct. 31, 2007.

Dodd, who represented Connecticut, a major insurance center, received more contributions from the insurance industry than any other presidential primary candidate from any party, the center reports.

Dodd received about twice as much industry support as Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, the winner of the Iowa caucuses.

The Republican winner in Iowa, former Arkansas governor Michael Huckabee, tallied only $23,550 in insurance industry contributions by Oct. 31, 2007.