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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Lieberman saga

Political Climate Warms to Lieberman’s Favor

Published: October 12, 2006

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 — Two months after a tumultuous Senate primary that was hailed as a watershed moment in American politics, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut appears to be comfortably ahead of his challenger Ned Lamont in their general election rematch.

Democrats here are convinced that Mr. Lieberman stands a good chance of returning to the Senate as an independent, and many have reassured him that he will not be stripped of his seniority if he wins, according to people in several Senate offices, who were granted anonymity to speak of the sensitive situation amid an intense political climate.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lamont, the Democratic nominee, failed to pick up significant momentum early on and has not maintained the level of national excitement that his long-shot candidacy first drew when he roared to victory in the August primary. He pumped another $2 million into his campaign on Tuesday, bringing his total personal contribution to $6 million since the primary, and $10 million over all. And a new poll released on Wednesday showed Mr. Lamont behind by eight points.

Viewed by both parties as basically a battle between two Democrats, with a little-known Republican trailing badly in the polls, the race has become little more than a footnote overshadowed by the national struggle over control of Congress in a midterm season punctuated by scandal. Mr. Lamont is by no means out of the running, but he is not dominating the agenda of the campaign season nationally as he seemed poised to do this summer.

Ok, Chris Shays is shitting his pants, and other Republican moderates expect to lose their seats, but the CW in Washington is that Lieberman is reelected?

Look, Lieberman has ridden name recognition as far as it can go, but with a shitty ballot position, no field operations and no way to ask for votes, especially with a likely depressed GOP turn out, it's going to be hard for him to win. Lamont's team did make some mistakes, especially assuming that this was a local election, it wasn't, but they general view of him in DC was that if he wanted to win the seat, he'd have to spend the money for it.

My argument was in August and is in October, is that Lamont's field ops give him an edge. Polling in this race isn't reliable because of those factors. Come election day, the entire machine will be working for Lamont, and despite Lieberman's ability to stop the total collapse of his campaign, the problem is that the moderate center isn't going to knock on doors, nor can the desperate GOP campaigns for the House waste a second to help him.

Lieberman has used TV, but in New England, you have to ask for votes. Of course, Lamont is going to go back to their core issues, Iraq, and hammer Lieberman on it. He's got money and time to do so.

posted by Steve @ 2:35:00 AM

2:35:00 AM

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