Connecticut Primary Draws Fence-Siters
By JENNIFER MEDINA and NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
Published: August 1, 2006
HARTFORD, July 31 — Thousands of unaffiliated Connecticut voters have registered as Democrats in recent weeks, apparently eager to vote in the tightly contested Aug. 8 Senate primary between Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and his antiwar challenger, Ned Lamont.
In the last three months, 6,715 voters have changed their registration from unaffiliated to Democrat, the secretary of state said on Monday, noting that the number was unusually large. Nearly 5,000 voters changed affiliation in July alone, nearly 10 times the number in May.
Unaffiliated voters can continue changing their registration until noon on the day before the primary. Unaffiliated voters are nearly 45 percent of the electorate, making them a larger group than either the Democrats or Republicans, according to the secretary of state, Susan Bysiewicz. About 702,000 of the state’s 2.1 million voters, or about a third, are registered Democrats.
Both the Lieberman and Lamont campaigns say they expect record turnout in the primary election, and both campaigns say they believe the newly registered Democrats are a good sign for them.
“We know that a significant number of those who have flipped have done so to back Ned Lamont,” said Tom Swan, Mr. Lamont’s campaign manager.
Marion Steinfels, a spokeswoman for the Lieberman campaign, said: “The more Democrats who register obviously gives us a better chance.”
Jesse Jackson is scheduled to appear in Connecticut on Wednesday to endorse Mr. Lamont.
In a sign that the race could become increasingly negative in the final days, the Lieberman campaign began distributing fliers on Sunday raising questions about Mr. Lamont’s membership in an exclusive Greenwich country club.
The front of the flier featured a picture of Mr. Lieberman with former President Bill Clinton, who campaigned for the senator last week, and cited examples of Mr. Lieberman’s support for civil rights issues. “Lieberman has fought throughout his entire career to knock down barriers, stop discrimination and extend the promise of America to everyone,” the flier said.
But the back of the flier quotes a recent article in The New York Times describing Mr. Lamont’s past membership in the Round Hill Club, a country club in Mr. Lamont’s hometown, Greenwich. Mr. Lamont has said that he gave up his membership because the club was not diverse enough.
The general manager of the Round Hill Club, Dennis Meermans, said that he was not permitted to comment on the club’s membership policies and that the club’s president was out of the country and unavailable.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Lamont, Liz Dupont-Diehl, said that the campaign was “continually disappointed by Senator Lieberman’s personal attacks.” She also noted Mr. Lamont’s volunteer work in Bridgeport public schools and his association with the local Urban League chapter in the state
There was a small disruption at a New Haven rally for Mr. Lieberman when supporters of the senator tried to cover up a sign being carried through the crowd by a Lamont supporter. After the woman began yelling, a police officer removed her from the rally. She was not arrested.
I don't think Lieberman supporters are rushing to him,since he's trying to get black votes. What I think are that independents want to make sure that Lieberman is defeated. If there was an uptick in supporters, wouldn't you see it reflected in the campaign?
posted by Steve @ 12:43:00 AM