3/10/2005

Getting serious about dumping Joe Lieberman

Connecticut Democrats dissatisfied with U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman want to mount a primary election challenge to the three-term incumbent in 2006 and say they are debating the merits of as many as six alternative candidates. Tom Swan, executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group and a party insider involved in the insurgency, declined this week to name any of the potential challengers. "There's a great deal of displeasure with Joe and some of his recent actions," Swan said, referring to the senator's stance on proposed changes to the Social Security system and his support for the confirmations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. "But it would be premature at this point to discuss specifics."
Nevertheless, Swan and Nathan Karnes, a member of a Democratic ward committee in New Haven and a leader of a "DumpJoe" message group at Yahoo.com, said those under consideration include current and past state officials and at least two "high-profile" figures from the entertainment industry who live in the state and are politically active. They said the latter do not include actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, a Westport resident who had been rumored to be considering a race against Lieberman that party leaders have since discounted.
The insurgents' comments came as a Web site created by a former Connecticut resident now living in southern California began collecting cash pledges from those who would help fund a primary bid against Lieberman. Under the rubric "timetogojoe," the site brands the senator as "a Democrat in name only" and seeks to raise as much as $1 million for "any real Democrat" who might oppose him. The site has collected $25,630 in pledges from 225 people since its inception last week. "We're saying, "Hey, what do you guys think about this guy?'" Karnes said. "We don't have to accept him at the Democratic nominee in '06 without a challenge, and I think the reception has been very good."
"It's really Joe Lieberman that's moved away from the Democratic Party," he said. "And it's not just the social issues where he had moved away. It has to do with the actual policy questions, something like Gonzales as attorney general. You don't have to be a leftist to believe America is doing something wrong when official policy allows torture."

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