Con­necti­cut and Capi­tol Hill

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

It turned out that had Al Gore won the pres­i­dency in 2000, the de­ci­sion by his run­ning mate, Con­necti­cut Sen. Joe Lieber­man, to si­mul­ta­ne­ously run for both the vice pres­i­dency and for re­elec­tion to the Se­nate ef­fec­tively guar­an­teed that Repub­li­cans would re­tain con­trol of the Se­nate, where the GOP held a 54-46 ad­van­tage be­fore the elec­tion.

In 2000, Con­necti­cut had a Repub­li­can gov­er­nor, who would have re­placed “Vice Pres­i­dent Lieber­man” in the Se­nate with a Repub­li­can, re­sult­ing in a 5149 Repub­li­can ma­jor­ity. How­ever, if vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Lieber­man had de­clined to run for re-elec­tion to the Se­nate and in­stead “made way for the state’s pop­u­lar [Demo­cratic] at­tor­ney gen­eral, Richard Blu­men­thal, who would have won eas­ily,” and if Mr. Gore had won the pres­i­dency, the New Yorker re­cently ob­served, “then the new Se­nate would have split 50-50, with Vice Pres­i­dent Lieber­man break­ing the tie in fa­vor of Democrats. But, by in­sist­ing on hav­ing it both ways, Lieber­man sin­gle-hand­edly guar­an­teed that the new Se­nate would be Repub­li­can — ei­ther by a 51-49 mar­gin un­der a Gore ad­min­is­tra­tion or (as it turned out) by the [50-50] tie-break­ing vote of Vice Pres­i­dent Cheney.”

It is merely spec­u­la­tive at this stage of the 2006 elec­tions, but light­ning may strike twice. It is con­ceiv­able that Mr. Lieber­man once again could sin­gle­hand­edly de­ter­mine that Repub­li­cans main­tain con­trol of a con­gres­sional cham­ber. This time, some po­lit­i­cal strate­gist spec­u­late, Mr. Lieber­man’s de­ci­sion to run for re-elec­tion to the Se­nate as an in­de­pen­dent af­ter los­ing the Demo­cratic pri­mary to Ned La­mont may pro­vide just enough ticket-split­ting mod­er­ate vot­ers to re-elect three Con­necti­cut Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tives — Nancy John­son, Christo­pher Shays and Rob Sim­mons — all of whom are in­volved in tight races with Demo­cratic op­po­nents. All three won re-elec­tion with less than 55 per­cent of the vote and all three rep­re­sent dis­tricts that voted for John Kerry in 2004.

Democrats need to gain 15 seats to re­claim a ma­jor­ity in the House. In the blue state of Con­necti­cut, where Democrats con­trol two-thirds of each house in the leg­is­la­ture, Democrats con­sider all three Repub­li­can-held House seats to be prime can­di­dates for Demo­cratic takeovers. How­ever, some strate­gists in both par­ties have ar­gued that Mr. Lieber­man’s re­main­ing in the Se­nate race im­proves the chances of the three Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tives. On the day af­ter Mr. Lieber­man’s pri­mary de­feat, for ex­am­ple, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported that some Democrats fear that the con­tin­ued di­vi­sions within their party “could af­fect their chances of cap­tur­ing” the three Repub­li­can House seats. Carl Forti, a spokesman for the Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee, echoed that view. “Any­one who is go­ing to vote for Lieber­man, my guys can get,” he told the New York Times.

On the mar­gin, where the three Con­necti­cut House seats and con­trol of the en­tire cham­ber may well be de­cided, Joe Lieber­man may once again de­liver for the Repub­li­can Party.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.