Ned Lamont has beaten Senator Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic primary election in Connecticut to run as the party's Senate candidate on November's ballot. With 97% of the vote counted, Lamont held a lead of less than 3.5%. My mild disappointment is not that Lamont won, but the small margin. If Connecticut were in the throes of an anti-incumbent fever, Lamont would have won over Sen. Joseph Lieberman by a landslide. On the flip side, another incumbent lost yesterday: Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney lost her bid for reelection.
I will go on record now and say that November's race between Lamont as Democrat and Lieberman as Democratic Independent will go one of two ways. Either, Lamont will succeed in painting Lieberman as a divider of Connecticut and the Democratic Party and a man who doesn't like playing by the party's rules, or Lieberman will succeed with a lot of help from Independent and Republican voters who see more conservative prospects from Sen. Joe than their own Republican candidate (who has little chance in this predominantly Democratic state). You can hold me to this call.
Voters in Connecticut, largely a liberal lot, did not have a clear 100% Democrat choice. But then, it is getting harder and harder to define just what a 100% Democrat is these days. Ned Lamont's stand on some fiscal issues side with Republican and conservative leanings, Iraq excepted. On social issues, his campaign site reads from centrist to liberal on issues like women's right to choose and civil rights. Actually, both Lamont and Lieberman are moderates straddling the right-left divide on some issues. It is encouraging that Democratic voters are willing to entertain candidates who are not extremists from their party's fringe. However, it also appears this election was largely a single-issue referendum on the war in Iraq, at least if the campaign rhetoric is the gauge.