AmannSpeaker AmannThe Democratic Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, publicly announced his support for the beleaguered U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman Monday. At an afternoon press conference, Amann said he would support Lieberman in his third-party contest against the endorsed Democratic candidate, Ned Lamont, who he painted as the party spoiler. Fellow party leaders, like U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, and other constitutional officers, attended a unity rally last Wednesday where they collectively endorsed Lamont. Amann’s absence was noted and the following day he said he would make a decision over the weekend.

Amann said his first priority is to get Democrats running for the state’s General Assembly districts elected and his second priority is to represent his home town of Milford where Lieberman received 185 more votes than Lamont in last Tuesday’s primary.“There are times you stand with a friend no matter what the political cost,” Amann told a handful of reporters. Amann later said he would not be working with the Lieberman campaign because he would be too busy working on the General Assembly races in the state. Amann said he spoke with Lieberman four times this past weekend before making a decision on the race at 8 p.m. Sunday.  He said the race is about more than the war in Iraq and that voters need to look at Lieberman’s record on a variety of issues.While some have asserted that Lamont, “the successful Greenwich millionaire,” is the soul of the Democratic party, Amann said that he has left many Democrats “outside of the tent.” “The soul of the party means all Democrats are included,” he said. “When Ned Lamont stepped into the race he divided the party.” “I think the party is split,” and the divide is not going to be healed in the next three months, Amann said. But more importantly, the division is “cannibalizing fellow democrats.”  He said the chances of Democrats winning back the majority in the U.S. Senate is going to be very difficult. But when push comes to shove, Amann opined that some of the elected officials who endorsed Lamont last week will, in the end, vote for Lieberman in November. Amann is the second elected official to publicly announce his support for Lieberman. The first was Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura.