It now looks like Joe Lieberman will lose his bid for the Democratic nomination for one of Connecticut’s seats in the U.S. Senate to Ned Lamont. With just under 20% of the vote in, Lamont has been has a lead of about 12 points over the incumbent, a lead he has maintained since the first returns started coming in.
In this post, I expressed my support for Lieberman’s victory in the primary even as I believe his defeat will be good for the GOP. It will now be easier for the GOP to show the growing extremism of the Democratic Party as it rejects the man whom six years ago today its presidential nominee (Al Gore) tapped as his running mate.
UPDATE (9:20 PM EST): With 33% of the vote in, Lieberman is closing the gap, now behind by fewer than 10 pts.
UP-UPDATE (9:37 PM EST): With 50% of precincts reporting, Lieberman has closed the gap to 5 points.
UP-UP-UPDATE (10:10 PM EST): Some media outlets, including Drudge, are declaring Lamont the victor. Lieberman did come close enough that he can say he’s justified in pursuing re-election as an Independent.
UP-UP-UP-UPDATE (10:35 PM EST): As it now appears that Joe Lieberman has lost the Democratic nomination for the Connecticut Senate seat, Captain Ed writes:
this is now the nightmare scenario for the Democrats. He’s finished strongly, allowing him to argue that he has momentum and a mandate to keep running. If this finishes with this spread, Lieberman could easily win a general election, and the effort would keep this internecine battle front and center all through the midterms.
UP-UP-UP-UP-UPDATE (11:22 PM EST): John McIntyre pretty much echoes what I’ve been saying about a Lamont victory, calling it “just about the worst result possible for the Democratic Party.” (Via Instapundit). Money quote:
Democrats may try to downplay this result as a Connecticut issue, the rejection of a three-term Senator who was the party’s VP nominee only six years ago will have repercussions throughout the country and they don’t help the Democratic Party.
Lieberman gave a great concession speech. It doesn’t help Lamont that he has Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton standing right behind him as he declares victory. He seems more angry than elated. Not a good strategy to appeal to the independent vote even in a “blue” state like Connecticut.