One more step closer to being free of Lieberman
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman won the endorsement of a divided Democratic state convention Friday night, but his challenger, Ned Lamont , garnered enough support to force a primary and a summerlong debate on the war in Iraq.
Lieberman, 64, a three-term senator and his party's 2000 vice presidential nominee, defeated Lamont, 52, an anti-war candidate, on a 1,004 to 505 roll call ballot, the first step on what promises to be his most difficult re-election challenge.
After months on the defensive, when Lieberman saw old allies publicly criticize his support for the war and question his place in the Democratic Party, the Lieberman campaign was in a mood to crow.
"It was a big endorsement, given all the anti-war sentiment in this room," said Sean Smith, Lieberman's campaign manager.
OK, I read that right: a third term senator is saying, after almost 20 years in DC, after running for VP in 2000, that getting his party's endorsement the other night - over someone who was completely unknown before January of this year - is a big endorsement!
Mr Smith, this is only politics as usual. These triangulators have forgotten their base, they just are going for the easy win, and don't care about the anger that is bubbling up from the grass roots.
Lamont, a Greenwich businessman seeking statewide office for the first time, also could claim a victory as he won 33 percent of the vote, more than twice the 15 percent necessary to force a rare primary against an incumbent senator. The primary will be Aug. 8.
"The significance is the people of Connecticut want change," Lamont said.
As Lamont spoke to reporters, his young supporters chanted, "Ned! Ned!"
All I can say is: Woooo Hooo, and may I be one of the first to have the honor of donating to his primary run.
You can see his commercials here, they are clever, optomistic, and do not sling mud.
From the Hartford Courant: Lieberman's In Trouble an editorial by Kevin Rennie
When Ned Lamont captured a staggering third of the 1,509 votes cast Friday, the green challenger's handlers were the most surprised camp in Hartford's Expo Center. The Lamont campaign got a late start this past winter and wondered as recently as a week ago if it would reach the 15 percent threshold required to get on the ballot without resorting to the laborious petition alternative. In the end, Lamont showed support across the state. (I was surprised too, and point out that a week ago I dismissed Lieberman consultant Roy Occhiogrosso's prediction that Lamont could get 30 to 40 percent of the vote.)
The Lieberman people seemed dispirited all night. His demonstrators waved and rubbed together curious-looking wiener-shaped balloons advising "Stick With Joe" as they made their way through the aisles in a short, obligatory demonstration to the tune of "Still the One." They became animated only when "Soul Man" came over the sound system, providing a cover to stop chanting and start dancing.
OMG, how incredibly appropriate, a weiner on a stick!
Discomfort turned to pain for the Lieberman campaign when the first town in the 1st Congressional District began the roll call: Barkhamsted cast its two votes for Lamont. The challenger received votes in town after town, sometimes one at a time, sometimes considerably more. When once Lieberman-friendly Windsor cast 13 of its 17 votes for Lamont, a roar of surprise filled the hall. Lamont would sail past the crucial 15 percent threshold before reaching his 4th Congressional District stronghold. Lieberman ought to be grateful it was not a secret ballot. If it had been, some of the 100 missing delegates might have found the backbone to vote.
The darkest omens for Lieberman came near the end of the night when Southbury, nearly the last to vote, announced it was still waiting for a response to a winter invitation to Lieberman to meet. Until he does, Southbury cast five votes for Lamont, three abstentions and zero for Lieberman. One of the night's loudest cheers rang out.
Tell you what, after all teh form letters that I've gotten from Lieberman's office help, I can really relate!!
*crossposted at the Dark Wraith Message Board.