Lieberman Won’t Back Democratic Candidates

Joe Lieberman willnot endorse Conneticut’s Democratic candidates for Congress, he announced yesterday.

Declaring himself a “non-combatant,” U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, in remarks at a New Haven press event Friday, raised anew the question of whether his “independent” candidacy will help Republicans hold onto three Congressional seats in Connecticut — and control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lieberman — who after losing an Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont has launched a third-party bid to hold onto his seat in the Nov. 7 general election — was asked whether he still endorses Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy, three Democrats looking to unseat endangered Republican incumbents Chris Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson. “I’m a non-combatant,” Lieberman declared. “I am not going to be involved in other campaigns. I think it’s better if I just focus on my own race.”

[…]

“It’s a little awkward for me now” to endorse the Democratic candidates in the general election, he said, “since they all endorsed my opponent,” Democratic primary winner Ned Lamont.

Indeed it would. Given that the Democratic Party is endorsing and funding his opponent–as it should; Lamont is after all the party’s nominee–it would be odd to expect Lieberman to nonetheless endorse them.

The only question, really, is why he continues to insist he will caucus with the Democrats if elected. Is it out of an odd sense of loyalty to a party that has abandoned him and that he has abandoned, at least temporarily, after being defeated in a far race for the nomination? Or is it just a tactical move to get 40 percent or so of the Democratic vote?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kent G. Budge says:

    The only question, really, is why he continues to insist he will caucus with the Democrats if elected. Is it out of an odd sense of loyalty to a party that has abandoned him and that he has abandoned, at least temporarily, after being defeated in a far race for the nomination? Or is it just a tactical move to get 40 percent or so of the Democratic vote?

    This really isn’t hard and you’ve already provided the obvious answer. He has to have a large chunk of the Democratic vote to win. These Democrats may be willing to buck their party so far as to vote for Lieberman, but not if if means strengthening the Republican caucus at the expense of the Democratic.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Lieberman has show his true colors. Its all about Joe.

  3. SoloD says:

    Although I don’t doubt for a second that Joe will continue to caucus with the Dems if he is reelected because he is in his heart a Democrat, he also is well aware that the moment he even hints that he would vote with the GOP caucus is the moment he loses the election.

    Many Dems here in CT will vote for him, even if they hold their nose a little, because they know what type of Senator he would be. If he causes his Dem supporters to question that, then they will flee. As it us many of us who supported and voted for Joe in the primary have some concerns about voting for him in the general. He can’t afford to have us think he might back Majority Leader McConnell over Majority Leader Reid.

    Plus, Joe has to know that his hinting that he might caucus with the GOP will only serve him if he is reelected and the Senate is 50-50. Otherwise, I doubt that very many GOP Senators would relish losing their coveted Committee assignments (or even a Chair) to him. Joe is smart enough to know all those things.

    Finally, his financing dries up as well. He still needs to raise about $6 million and it is easier to do as a Dem than as a Goper.

  4. Anderson says:

    As Kent said, was that really a question?

  5. There is nothing in Joe that would lean him to organize with the republicans. He pretty much supports everything the democrats stand for except wanting to lose the war on terror. If he doesn’t organize with the democrats it will only be because he was forced out by the democrats. Even then, he would likely organize with no one, rather than the republicans.

    The way the democrats are acting reminds me so much of my two sons fighting. Don’t be surprised if when you hit someone, they decide to hit back. And if you keep escalating your attacks, don’t be surprised if they keep escalating their attacks back.