Wednesday, August 09, 2006
BIG NEWS: Lieberman loses to Lamont
Lieberman loses in Democratic primary - Yahoo! News Lieberman loses in Democraticprimary By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer 19 minutes ago Three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman fell to anti-war challenger Ned Lamont in Connecticut's Democratic primary Tuesday, the first major election-year test of sentiment over the conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq. "Tonight we voted for big change," a jubilant Lamont told supporters. Unbowed, Lieberman vowed to fight on, announcing plans to run as an independent this fall. "Of course I am disappointed by the results, but I am not discouraged," Lieberman said. "For the sake of our state, our country and my party, I cannot and will not let that result stand." Lamont won with 52 percent of the vote, or 146,061, to 48 percent for Lieberman, with 136,042, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Turnout was projected at twice the norm for a primary. Lieberman's loss made him only the fourth incumbent senator to lose a primary since 1980, and came just six years after he was the Democrats' choice for vice president. Two other incumbents in Congress lost their seats Tuesday. In Georgia, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the fiery congresswoman known for her conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attacks and a scuffle this year with a U.S. Capitol police officer, lost a runoff for the Democratic nomination. In Michigan, moderate Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz lost to a conservative in a GOP primary. Elsewhere, voters in Colorado and Missouri also chose candidates for the fall elections. The Connecticut Senate race dominated the political landscape, and its outcome promises to echo through the fall. The race was watched closely by the liberal, Internet-savvy Democrats who lead the party's emerging "netroots" movement, groups such as Moveon.org that played a big role in pushing Lamont's candidacy. Critics targeted Lieberman for his strong support for the Iraq war and for his close ties to President Bush. They played and replayed video of the kiss President Bush planted on Lieberman's cheek after the 2005 State of the Union address. In the final weeks of the campaign, Lieberman appeared with former President Clinton, Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record) of California and other national Democratic leaders. Now attention turns to how party leaders will respond: Rally around Lamont? Pressure Lieberman to step down? Officials said turnout Tuesday was up to 50 percent, when primaries usually only draw 25 percent of voters. Vote totals showed roughly 16,000 more ballots cast for the Democratic Senate primary than the party primary for governor, reflecting the extra attention to the Lieberman-Lamont battle. In the lead up to the primary, 14,000 new Connecticut voters registered as Democrats, while another 14,000 state voters switched their registration from unaffiliated to Democrat to vote in the primary. Jubilant Lamont supporters predicted victory in November. "People are going to look back and say the Bush years started to end in Connecticut," said Avi Green, a volunteer from Boston. "The Republicans are going to look at tonight and realize there's blood in the water." A week ago, polls showed Lieberman trailing Lamont by 13 percentage points. The latest polls showed the race tightening, with Lamont holding a slight lead of 51 percent to 45 percent over Lieberman among likely Democratic voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. On the final day of the race, Lieberman accused his opponent's supporters of hacking his campaign Web site and e-mail system. Lamont said he knew nothing about the accusations. Lamont, the millionaire owner of a cable television company and former Greenwich selectman, will face Republican Alan Schlesinger in the general election. In Georgia, McKinney, her state's first black congresswoman, lost to Hank Johnson, the black former commissioner of DeKalb County, 58 percent to 41 percent. In the heavily Democratic district, the runoff winner is likely to win in the fall. McKinney has long been controversial, once suggesting the Bush administration had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Her comments helped galvanize opposition and she lost her seat in 2002, but won it again two years ago. In her latest brouhaha in March, she struck a Capitol Police officer who did not recognize her and tried to stop her from entering a House office building. A grand jury in Washington declined to indict her, but she was forced to apologize before the House. She drew less than 50 percent of the vote in last month's primary. In other primaries Tuesday: • In Michigan, Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz, a moderate who supports abortion rights, lost to conservative Tim Walberg, a former state lawmaker. The race drew more than $1 million from outside groups; Schwarz has received support from President Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record). • In Colorado, two open congressional seats have drawn crowds of candidates. • Missouri Republican Sen. Jim Talent (news, bio, voting record) and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill, the state auditor, won their party's primaries.