Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Joe's In Trouble

As Colin McEnroe notes in his convention postmortem (hat tip MikeCT), Joe wakes up this morning to find himself in some real trouble. A true gauge of support for Ned Lamont on the convention floor would have had him at a lot more than the 33.4% he won.

Many delegates admitted that they voted for Lieberman half-heartedly last night in a public ballot, but plan to vote full-heartedly for Lamont in August in a private one. McEnroe talks of stories he heard of delegates staying home last night rather than show up and feel forced to vote for Joe, and I've heard the same stories (one where such a delegate refused to take Joe's phone call a few days earlier). And many more delegates voted for Joe for reasons of personal gain, political strategy, or just plain inertia. Very few - if any - voted for him in anything approaching full agreement or enthusiastic support of his candidacy. (Reportedly, the only even attempted pro-Joe enthusiasm in the place last night were the college kids he paid to run around and try to start cheers, and they quit trying about halfway through.) And as Jon from Kiss Joe Goodbye points out, if you take away the five large machine-dominated cities where bloc-voting (not a true gauge of support) brought Lieberman the bulk of his votes, Ned actually won 41.35% of the vote. (Read Tess Wheelwright's excellent micro-breakdown of the New Haven delegation, from one such city.)

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to claim that if a free vote - a true measure of support for Lamont - was taken last night, Ned would have ended up as the endorsed nominee of the party. And, this morning, Joe Lieberman would be deciding whether to switch parties or retire.

So what's next for Ned? He'll continue to run a huge field operation, which is and will continue to be the centerpiece of this campaign. The campaign will gladly accept support from the blogs (where ActBlue donations passed $200,000 last night) and groups like MoveOn (whose CT members will vote next week on whether to get involved in this race) but that will in many ways be superfluous - the campaign is well-organized in the field and due to the petition drive has an army of tested volunteers ready to go. He'll continue to visit and talk to groups of voters in big cities and small towns whose phone calls Joe still won't return. And he'll have to prepare himself to withstand a barrage of slime coming his way from a frightened and desperate incumbent.

Joe has it a lot tougher. This is already the low point of his political career, and he can see nothing but lower points ahead. Did he promise to stay in the Democratic party in order to get Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton to write endorsement letters to delegates? If not, he must be considering whether to bolt the party and run in a friendlier electorate (i.e. Republicans). If he decides to cut-and-run, he needs to do so soon. Otherwise, he's in for a huge fight, and with no other elections going on anywhere in the country in August, it's going to get national attention.

Most importantly, though, 33.4% means that all Democrats in Connecticut - from the highest elected official to the union member to the long-time supporter of Joe - no longer have anything to fear by openly supporting Ned Lamont. And that's probably what's scaring Joe this morning most of all.


Tim already has some video up at the official blog, and more is coming soon at Nedheads on YouTube, I'm sure. And thanks to everyone on the ground and online who helped out in covering the event last night.
Joe's problem with abandoning the party now is not what he may or may not have promised Harry Reid privately, but what he's said over the last month to the Connecticut Democrats, over and over:

I am a proud Democrat

I will bring Democrats success as the top of the ticket

Ned Lamont is not a good Democrat.


We should have a coordinated response ready to go that throws that 'true Democrat' bull right back in his face the minute he bolts. THAT'S what's going to cause this hypocrite's downfall.
amen...joe has to go period.
Is there an organized Independent Party in CT? Would Lieberman get a free ride at that nomination or would he have to face some sort of primary/convention for it?
"Did he promise to stay in the Democratic party in order to get Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton to write endorsement letters to delegates?"

Support from Dems in Congress is automatic. As long as he remains a Dem incumbent running for re-election. I am sure most of his colleagues in the Senate, including Hillary and Reid, hate his guts. They will still publicly support him because those are the rules. The incumbent gets party support. If he loses the nomination you will see all the Dem leader supporting Ned Lamont.
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