yes! ned lamont wins the primary!

An amazing victory—from an unknown to defeating a three-term senator in just six months. Ned made a great speech, thanking everyone, laying out what he will work to achieve as senator, and especially thanking his family and Tom Swan (his campaign manager). It actually brought tears to my eyes—jaded cynic that I am.

Lieberman announced that he’s now running as an “Independent Democrat,” whatever that means. A graceless and mean-spirited concession speech. Now he’s going to file to run under the “Connecticut for Lieberman” party.

It looks like John DeStefano won the Dem primary for governor (I voted for him)—I’m glad to see that, though I doubt Jodi Rell can be defeated on November 7 (but after tonight, I think it might be possible ... ) What’s REALLY interesting about this is that the woman who was running as Daniel Malloy running mate, Mary Glassman, won the nomination for lt. governor by an overwhelming margin. I voted for Glassman—my main reason is we need more smart, liberal women in politics, but my secondary reason is I preferred DeStafano only slightly more than I went for Malloy (I like DeStafano’s health care ideas more), so this seemed to me one way to get the best ticket possible. Apparently, a LOT of other Nutmeggers were thinking this way too.

The Lamont victory wasn’t as overwhelming as I had hoped it would be, so I know it’s going to be another three months of heavy campaigning. But I am so happy to be campaigning for a candidate I believe in! And I think his defeat of Lieberman (and the Republican) in November will be absolutely overwhelming.

Added to the continuing fight against Joe is Diane Farrell’s fight against Chris Shays (R) for the US House of Representatives race. I’m still really pissed off at her for needlessly supporting Lieberman when she clearly shouldn’t have declared for anyone and for her outrageously expensive fund raisers—most of the people in our district are NOT wealthy, including me, yet she keeps campaigning as if her entire district was at the same socio-economic level as Westport. Shays is very popular, so it will be a very interesting race—in this case, I think the defining issue will once again be the Iraq war. (And Diane should start distancing herself from Hillary Clinton—we DO pay attention in this state, as Ned’s victory demonstrated.)

This just in from the Wall Street Journal (by By Jeanne Cummings, August 8, 2006 11:26 p.m.)

WASHINGTON—Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman conceded defeat in the state’s Democratic primary, a result that may send an ominous signal to other incumbents supportive of President Bush and the Iraq war.

Mr. Lieberman, who is seeking a fourth term, lost to Ned Lamont, a 52-year-old businessman with little political experience. With 89% of Connecticut precincts reporting, Mr. Lamont led with 52% of the vote, compared with 48% for Mr. Lieberman.

In a defiant concession speech, Mr. Lieberman vowed to continue on as an independent and accused the Lamont campaign of the “same old partisan rhetoric” that has polarized Washington.

Many Connecticut Democrats, who turned out in record numbers for the primary vote, vented frustration with an 18-year incumbent who many said had lost touch with the state, particularly on Iraq.

The Lamont victory represents a coming of age for the Democratic Party’s online activists, who had yet to score a victory in backing antiwar candidates. Liberal bloggers helped draw Mr. Lamont into the race while MoveOn.org raised money for his campaign and delivered activists who stuffed envelopes and put up yard signs.

“It’s a big deal,” says Robert Borosage, of the advocacy group Campaign for America’s Future. “There is a rising, progressive tide in the Democratic Party of activists and voters who are very upset with the direction of the country and very tired of Democrats who have chosen to duck-and-cover rather than to stand-and-fight.”

But some Republicans say the vote could hurt Democrats, by making them seem too far left, and too antiwar, to appeal to voters in more conservative parts of the country. Connecticut is one of the nation’s most liberal states, though the antiwar, anti-Bush sentiment there also registers in national polls.

Even so, the Lieberman defeat was a dramatic event, and a political fall for the man who was the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2000. Incumbents rarely lose among their party’s voters: This was the fourth time that has happened in a quarter-century.

For weeks, Mr. Lieberman’s campaign has been collecting the 7,500 signatures required to put his name on the ballot this fall as an independent. Preprimary polls have suggested Mr. Lieberman could win as an independent by drawing support from Connecticut’s Republicans and voters unaffiliated with either party.

Still, the primary defeat offers at least one lesson for other incumbents: Those who hail from antiwar states must deal head-on with the issue. Despite signs of trouble, Mr. Lieberman didn’t fully respond to his critics until the final week.

And an independent run won’t be easy. Mr. Lieberman would have to dodge a sore-loser label while mounting a campaign without the traditional party machinery that can marshal activists, donors, advisers and other support. In addition, the majority of his Senate colleagues—and former President Clinton, whose campaign appearance for Mr. Lieberman drew the incumbent’s largest crowd—are expected now to line up behind Mr. Lamont as the party nominee.

The Iraq war dominated the contest, but it wasn’t the only factor in the race. Mr. Lieberman’s stature with his Democratic constituents was weakened by his criticism of President Clinton during the 1998 impeachment trial, his promotion of public school vouchers and two successive runs for national office that kept him away from home.

Mr. Lamont launched his campaign as an anti-war rebuttal to Mr. Lieberman’s staunch support for the Iraq invasion. But the cable company executive worked to expand his portfolio by calling for expanded health care coverage and other issues.

A turning point appeared to come when Mr. Lieberman announced that he might run as an independent in the November general election. That decision seemed to harden some voters belief that Mr. Lieberman was more concerned with his position in Washington than representing his constituents. Within a week, Mr. Lamont moved ahead in the polls and widened the gap in the run up to Election Day.

Stanley and I are looking forward to reading what the pundits have to say tomorrow—and I hope Ned’s victory really does prove to be a bellwether for the rest of the country in November.

Now that the primary is finally over, I need to focus on work again—it was really hard today to get anything done!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/08/06 at 08:40 PM

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