Lamont Topples Lieberman, And Shakes Up The Country

by Paul Bass | August 8, 2006 11:43 PM | | Comments (39)

Ned Lamont beat back Joe Lieberman in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate nomination, upsetting a three-term incumbent in a fable-like campaign that promises to reshape Connecticut and national politics in the fall and 2008 elections.

Lieberman sort of conceded the race (he’s still saying he’s running as a third-party candidate in November), as Lamont captured roughly 52 percent of the vote in an upset that saw him emerge from anonymity to a national symbol of progressive change in just six months.

The ballroom of Meriden’s Four Points Sheraton was mobbed and filled with deafening roars as Lamont declared, “No more stay the course. Stay the course is not a winning strategy in Iraq, and it is not a winning strategy in America.”

“Our health care system is broken,” he said. “Forty-seven million uninsured and escalating costs are bankrupting business and working families alike. It is time to fix health care.”

National figures from the Rev. Jesse Jackson to California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who visited Connecticut three times to campaign in cities with Lamont, accompanied Lamont on stage, as did progressive Connecticut political figures like State Rep. Chris Donovan and organizer Tom Swan, Lamont’s campaign manager.

“Let’s see if you were paying attention,” Lamont called out in his speech, which took place around 11 p.m. “How many lobbyists are there for every Congressman on Capitol Hill?”

“Sixty-two!” someone called out.

“Sixty-three!” Lamont responded. “It’s time to fix Congress!”

“This shows that change is possible,” said former state Democratic Party Chairman George Jepsen, who was chatting (in photo) with state NAACP chief Scot X. Esdaile at the Lamont party at the Four Points Sheraton in Meriden. “Lieberman outspent Lamont two to one. A lot of this was self-generated; people wanted to come out and vote.

“Ned was a credible messenger. If he was a joke or a crackpot, people being angry at Joe, it wouldn’t have been enough.”

Esdaile was visibly jazzed by the high turnout and campaign work not just statewide, but in the African-American community.

“I haven’t seen this many blacks out since John Daniels’ campaign [in 1989 to become New Haven’s African-American mayor],” Esdaile said. “A lot of young people came out. I’m excited about it. Now I’ve got to work on unifying it.”

As civil-rights leader Jesse Jackson put it to a TV reporter in the Lamont hall, natonally, “Democrats can no longer fake left and vote right. They can no longer be wolves in sheep’s clothing.” He spoke of the two top issues Lamont ran on — opposition to the Iraq War, support for universal health care — as signposts for the national party.

Joe Lieberman did win the city of Waterbury. “Waterbury,” said Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan (pictured), “are where the forces of slime meet the forces of evil.”

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Posted by: terentz | August 9, 2006 12:37 AM

Where the forces of slime meet the forces of evil? Waterbury?! In Connecticut?!! I never realized that there was that much going on out there! And here I thought San Francisco was crazy.

Posted by: Someone | August 9, 2006 1:11 AM

I don't see how 52 percent of votes allows for "crushed." Without knowing how many Joe got, (which one can only assume was the other 48), I would think the proper term would be "squeeked."

I am not from your state and don't care much either way who wins, but your article does read as a bit biased.

Posted by: Mary Miculita | August 9, 2006 4:32 AM


Posted by: met00 | August 9, 2006 4:51 AM

In January 2005 I started and everyone said I was a nutcase. In March of 2006 a total unknown named Ned Lamont announced he was going to run against the 18 year incumbant. Less than 5 months later, after being outspent 2 to 1 by the incumbant with full party support and all the corporate owned main stream media favoring the incumbant and doing stenography instead of reporting, a total unknown beat the sitting incumbant by 4%.

In anyones book, that's a blowout.

Posted by: JoannaOregon | August 9, 2006 6:18 AM

I take into consideration nation-wide crooked voting machines etc & consider Lamont probably just won in a landslide... the side of evil just couldn't quite rig the votes well enough. That's my take & I'm stickin' to it.

Posted by: Someone Else | August 9, 2006 6:53 AM

I'd say a four-point margin is a decisive victory. After all, it's a larger winning spread than either of our last two Presidential elections.

Posted by: van | August 9, 2006 7:51 AM

I am delighted with hope that toilets in D.C. might be flushed by November. I will always be profoundly saddened that Lieberman squandered the trust of his party by pandering (yes, that's the word) to betrayers of our electoral processes in the last two presidential elections, betrayers of the Constitution, and of human decency, which finds torture abhorrent. These torturers betray even the rich, because they betray the ground they stand on and will rot in. Decency requires fair minimal wages not dependent on tax scams for the wealthy and it requires UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. Let's hope that now America believes we can rid ourselves of the fascist hegemony in D.C. which Joe embraced with fervor after the presidency was stolen.

Posted by: MarkinVermont | August 9, 2006 8:03 AM

As a former nutmegger,I could not be more proud that this mighty, tiny state has shaken the roots of the corporate,pro-war craven ways that Joe Lieberman well represents.

Joe can whine all he wants that the final vote was close (thus propelling him to shed his "D" label at long last) but let's be real here: Lamont came from way behind and beat an entrenched, nationally recognized senator. Yes, I would concur with the author that his defeat is, in fact, a crushing blow.

My hope is that the so-called power elites in the Democratic Party (Hillary, Biden, Cantwell are you listening??) are finally paying attention. Then again, when you are steeped in power, some people never learn.

Posted by: Steve | August 9, 2006 8:05 AM

Here's the reason it is correct to say "crushed." First of all, Lieberman outspent Lamont 2 to 1. Second, Lieberman had the big guns out for him (Bill Clinton, etc.). Finally, and more importantly, no incumbent Senator had lost a primary in over 30 years. Here it wasn't the margin buy the fact that with all that, and being the former VP nominee of the party, Lamont still won.

Posted by: Tami | August 9, 2006 8:10 AM

the tears of hope are flowing

Posted by: p-rex | August 9, 2006 8:14 AM

if this had been a conventional race between two political mainstays, 'squeaked' would be appropriate.

in this case, however, you're talking about someone with enormous name recognition (lieberman) and an 18-year senatorial career losing to a relative political newcomer that more than 95% of the state didn't even know back in march. no one would've predicted this even two months ago. 'crushed' is quite appropriate.

new haven is lieberman's home town. lamont won new haven, and even beat lieberman in his own voting precinct. that's crushed.

Posted by: Cathy | August 9, 2006 8:40 AM

Don't miss the lesson: Americans are tired of what is going on and we want change! I like Joe, but he did not serve his state well.

From Michigan, a state really hurting under Bush policies

Posted by: a man | August 9, 2006 8:46 AM

this is a wake up call to all the dems in the entranched party apparatus that support failed right wing policies. they should either lead, follow , or get out of the way cause the winds of change are coming and the masters of war will be defeated.

Posted by: MATTHEW | August 9, 2006 8:51 AM

Sounds like "someone" is suffering from cognitive disonance.I'm guessing that they are republican and are now worried about their fall from power.

Posted by: Bruce | August 9, 2006 9:32 AM

Nice job, Ned. In the last few days, the desparation in Lieberman's camp became very clear. I have never seen so many illegal lawn signs in my life -- popping up on highway ramps, stapled to telephone poles, lined up in front of BJ's. I'm suprised they didn't start spray-painting Joe's name on city buildings.

Since he's never had to run a serious campaign maybe they really didn't know better. It was kind of pathetic.

Posted by: hobojo | August 9, 2006 10:08 AM

SOMEONE--YOU sound like a bush lover to me,CRAZY GEORGE CALLED 51% MANDATE OR LANDSLIDE IN 04.And that was with his very own voting machines.Rove may have his work cut for him this fall,so get out your crying towel.

Posted by: Malgoska | August 9, 2006 11:01 AM

"Someone": 52% allows for crushed just like 51% gives one a mandate to wreck a planet. Simple math, isn't it?

Posted by: Paul Bass | August 9, 2006 11:18 AM

I agree with "Someone Else" (as usual in life). Lamont didn't "crush" Lieberman. It was "decisive." How did it come out as "crush" in my lede? Earlier in the night I began working on the story, hours before posting it, to have it ready. It was shaping up as a possibly "crushing" margin. I put the word in the headline and the lede. When it turned out otherwise, during the frantic hours of posting and writing and editing, I remembered to remove it from the headline. But not the lede. No excuses; just an explanation. Although I enjoy following the back-and-forth in the comments here. Thanks for pointing it out! No one beats Independent readers.

Posted by: John Bakalik | August 9, 2006 12:14 PM

Who cares if it wasn't a decisive victory, he punched Joe where it hurt, go back to the war vote, siding with the liar Bush on many votes. I'm sure Joe has an Israel heart and favors them over any Muslim country, then stop the killing if you are an ancient civilization who claims many biblical writings and gods of so called wisdom.
Look at Bush's stance, sitting on his hind end, reading "My pet Goat" or biking while the killing goes on, Condi suffers from jet lag that tied her tounge, while the world waits for peace. WW2 Vet for Peace

Posted by: John Bakalik | August 9, 2006 12:18 PM

Who cares if it wasn't a decisive victory, he punched Joe where it hurt, go back to the war vote, siding with the liar Bush on many votes. I'm sure Joe has an Israel heart and favors them over any Muslim country, then stop the killing if you are an ancient civilization who claims many biblical writings and gods of so called wisdom.
Look at Bush's stance, sitting on his hind end, reading "My pet Goat" or biking while the killing goes on, Condi suffers from jet lag that tied her tounge,while the world waits for peace. WW2 Vet for Peace

Posted by: Maezeppa | August 9, 2006 12:40 PM

This was a significant victory for Lamont, and for our process.

Lamont was outspent two to one, isn't a highly experienced politician, and this kind of upset has only happened three times in modern history.

Posted by: Reg | August 9, 2006 1:04 PM

Lieberman had the advantage of a three term incumbency, huge support from names like Bill Clinton and Ed Koch (both popular in Connecticut), a tremendous war chest, name recognition, and the backing of the major Jewish organizations.

Considering that Lamont was an unknown, and David taking on Goliath....this was a total rout!

Posted by: suzanna | August 9, 2006 1:40 PM

Congratulations Ned Lamont, and three cheers for the great state of Connecticut, who has spoken decisively and in a positive direction for our nation! We need to get away from failed foreign and domestic policy (aka Bush) and take a new direction to defend the USA and help us to become a leader in the world again. This is a huge victory for exactly that. I hope our Democratic leaders are listening and--unlike Mr. Lieberman--will stop pandering to GW Bush and his failed policies.

I'm from California, a state that is hurting under Bush policies (carried out by his faithful servant Arnold S., who tries to act as though he's somewhat independent of Bush but isn't at all).

Posted by: capnmike | August 9, 2006 2:04 PM

Ya ya ya, great victory. The only fly in the ointment is a HUGE one...if Lieberman DOES run as an independent, he is going to suck away enough votes to allow another Repiglican to win. He is an obvious tool of the Repiglican Party...this sly old Pol is smart enough to see that he can hand the State of Connecticut over to the Repiglicans. I would be interested to see WHO funds his "independent" campaign!!!!! Follow the Money!

Posted by: Liane Ellison Norman | August 9, 2006 2:30 PM

From far off, in Pittsburgh, PA, I rooted for Lamont. War isn't a single issue. It encompasses foreign policy (how we're seen in the world and if we're respected), economic policy (all that spending to smash people and crush buildings) and related domestic needs that must be ignored in order to bankroll killing and devastation, environmental policy (all that gas, oil, smoke, plastic expended), democracy (the erosion of truth-telling and civil liberties.) The war is THE issue. Leiberman had long ago signed on to Bush's war and his imperial world view. It's time for him to get a life.

Posted by: Snake Doctor | August 9, 2006 4:01 PM

Enjoy your victory now, because in November, Joe will win. And then if control of the Senate is in the balance, Lieberman will do a Jeffords!

Posted by: Murph56 [TypeKey Profile Page] | August 9, 2006 4:58 PM

Snake Doctor, you and Joe are in a dream world. of COURSE Joe won't win in November.

You are relying for that rpediction, on a poll conducted months ago when Lieberman was still the incumbent and Lamont was an unknown.

Now Ned Lamont is the Democratic Senate nominee and JOE is out in the cold. And notice how he immediately turned tail on the Democratic Party after whining to one prominenet Democrat after another to publicly support him. How do you think THAT plays?

Well, I'll tell you: It stinks!

Furhter, Joe needs money to run and he will not be able to access the DNC war chest (That will be Lamont's money, should he even need it). And almost no prominent Democrats will endorse him. It is a known fact that Bush and Rove WILL help him----and that can only HURT him.

So dream on, neoConBoy. Joe ain't goin anywhere but home to Mam.

Posted by: Shirley | August 9, 2006 5:09 PM

To Someone.......maybe we true democrats are a
bit biased.....when your Connecticut senator is
more on Bush's side than any of ours.....he gets
out!!!! That is what the people of Conn..say..and
unless you can change with it!~

Posted by: Jim | August 9, 2006 5:55 PM

I agree that Joe will win in November. Lamont has maximized his potential, only getting 52% of the primary vote that tends to bring out the most liberal members of the party. He will have a tough time selling himself to Independents and Republicans who will not lap up his far left brand of politics. Joe will point out Lamont's divisive nature, and the bitterness of the netroots will turn away moderates. It's a relief that Joe no longer has to kowtow to the left wing of the party. Afterall, they have never been good at winning elections, and it will be no different this time around. Lamont's victory is going to be a major setback for the Democratic party for many years to come. Can you say McGovern reincarnated?

Posted by: p-rex | August 9, 2006 7:31 PM

look at what republicans are saying about this. they're scared. they remember 1994, and this is looking very similar.

capn mike you must've just started following this thing because there's no way that schlesinger, the republican in this race, is going to win. he's a weak candidate. and if the repubs trade up for a better name, look for lieberman to drop out. right now a weak (r) candidate helps joe, but if they put someone else in there, that person will siphon off the republican votes joe needs.

has anyone else noticed the press seems to be ignoring a later july poll that showed lamont and lieberman tied 40%-40% in a three-way race? all sources i've seen so far keep referring to a 51%-27% lieberman lead, but that was before the poll that showed the tie (it was the one that showed lamont's first primary lead 51%-47%). what gives?

Posted by: mikey | August 10, 2006 1:17 AM

Hit the Road Joe...And DON'T you come back no More..No More !!!!

Send bush with Hugs and Kisses to ALL the Lame Dems and No Good republicans Joe. Enjoy your Condo in Florida next year.

Posted by: Suzanna | August 10, 2006 1:27 AM

To Snake Doctor: Lieberman cannot "do a Jeffords" because Jeffords acted on principle and Lieberman doesn't have any. Joe only has a desire to empower the Bush culture of death being played out in the Middle East and around the world. He, like Bush, is locked in a bubble of self-righteousness and detachment from the suffering of civilians in Iraq, Lebanon, and probably Israel, too. I really believe Joe is so locked in his own image of himself as a "Great Senator" that he doesn't care about anything else. If Lieberman wins in November... it's another step back into the Dark Ages for the USA and the world. We should pray that he doesn't win (and work to get Lamont elected!). No more ruinous neocon politics, including Lieberman's!

Posted by: Bruce | August 10, 2006 9:38 AM

I think Lemont has an excellent chance of winning in November. First of all, the Republican here has already been implicated in a series of gambing scandals and his campaign manager was caught taking bribes, so he really doesn't have a shot. Second, he may have only picked up 52% of the 40% of democrats who voted in the primary, but just about all of his supporters in the primary are turning around to support Lamont in the general election. Also, as a big business owner he may resonate well with conservatives in CT, who are primarily fiscal conservatives rather than social conservatives. I am not predicting an easy win, but he has a really good shot at it.

At the same time, I don't think it's fair to condemn Joe for continuing to run as an independent. I may not agree with many of his ideas, but the people who do have a right to vote for a candidate that represents them. In the end, I think the majority here are not supportive of his goals, but let the public decide.

Posted by: Bluesage | August 10, 2006 9:49 AM

Our elected Democrats in Washington, as pitiful as many are, need to now step up and disavow Joe Lieberman strongly. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary, Shumer, Dodd, all of them need to say to the country and to Joe that they are sorry he lost his way and will no longer be a member of the Democratic Party but that was his choice to make and the Party will put it's full weight and confidence in the people's choice, Ned Lamont. And even if it's just a symbolic gesture they need to strip Joe of any committee positions he holds as a Democrat.

Posted by: David | August 10, 2006 5:07 PM

Paul's writings on this whole race have been biased. Paul, how come you didn't write about the fake "Jews for Lamont" blogger at Edgewood? The answer is it may have tainted the positive image of the blogging community that you have written about the past few months.

Posted by: George L | August 10, 2006 10:07 PM

Did Swan really call Waterbury the place "where the forces of slime meet the forces of evil"? As a New Haven native, I'd agree that Waterbury is not held in high regard, but that's pretty harsh.

Posted by: paul bass | August 11, 2006 10:32 AM

David -- Was that guy a blogger at Edgewood School? I agree he was a fake. I interviewed him and discovered that. He didn't reveal much about himself and I never tied him to blogging. I figured he was just a wacko.

George -- Yes, Swan said that. And I agree! That doesn't say the whole town is that way, IMHO. It says that it keeps electing crooks who go to jail, and indeed those two forces do meet there regularly -- and succeed!

Posted by: Daniel Sumrall | August 11, 2006 12:45 PM

Parading and cheering because Democrats picked a Democrat is rather idiotic. Essentially, Democrats chose Diet Pepsi over Pepsi and will now go into the general election trying to get the rest of Connecticut to choose Diet Pepsi over Coke.

The earnestness Dems put into this race is comedic ("tears of hope"). Where was that earnestness five years ago when the unlawful and immoral killing began in Iraq? The fact that a man worth $90 million as we were told on several local news programs has convinced 52 % of the 40% of Democrats that voted in the primary that he knows what working families and individuals are going is laughable.

At least now there’s going to be a four way race—Sen. Lieberman, Ralph Ferrucci, Alan Schlesinger, and Ned Lamont—so we can actually have real freedom of choice and genuine participatory democracy. And actually part of me is wishing the Independent Party candidate John Mertens, independent Republican Diana Urban, and the crazy Concerned Citizens party will be there on the ballot.

Democracy doesn’t mean voting for the least-worst candidate, it means voting for the candidate that stands for your beliefs and values. So rant and rave all you want about Sen. Lieberman being a sore loser and deciding to still run. In a democracy not only can Sen. Lieberman run, but you can not vote for him, and that’s the beauty of it.

Posted by: Al | August 13, 2006 3:07 AM

Why do Cheney, Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly and the rest of the Right-Wing Neocon Hallelujah Chorus continue to say nice things about dear old Joe? Why was Rove on the phone consoling his favorite Democrat election night? They must realize their actions / comments drive more voters to Lamont. Maybe they don't care or maybe they truly think they can help Joe by speaking out in his favor. But consider this, bizarre as it seem: perhaps their ultimate goal is to get Lamont elected and then use him as the poster boy to convince others elsewhere in the country (the South, the Midwest and the Southwest) why it would be a nightmare if more Democrats were elected to national office in the future.

Right-wingers for Lamont? I know it sounds crazy, but if Lamont can successfully be portrayed as a 21st Century George McGovern as some GOP strategists would like, it would help the Republicans in their efforts to control both houses of Congress and probably the White House for many years to come.

How ironic if true?

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