U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont distanced himself and his campaign Monday from the actions taken by activists in New Haven who asked the local registrar of voters to strip U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman of his party affiliation because of his third-party reelection bid.“I think people have a right to run,” Lamont said. “I don’t think anyone should be removed.” Lamont said while he thinks it would “have been better if he stepped aside…It’s a decision only the senator can make.”
Dan Gerstein, Lieberman’s campaign spokesman who attended Lamont’s press conference at the state Capitol Monday evening said, “I thought what Ned said was statesman like.” He said he hoped Lamont and his campaign will communicate that to its supporters. Earlier in the day the Lieberman campaign characterized the move as a “purge campaign launched by Ned Lamont’s supporters” that constituted “dirty political tricks at its worst, ranking up there with the outrageous tactics that Katherine Harris and the Republicans used in 2000 in Florida to stop all the votes from being counted.“Henry Lowendorf, who led the group of activists said the group acted independently of Lamont’s campaign. He said he didn’t even notify Lamont of the event. Indeed, in recent weeks some members of New Haven’s antiwar community have expressed frustration with Lamontas well, because even though he opposes the war in Iraq, he has spoken out against Hezbollah and on behalf of Israel in the war in Lebanon. Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan, talking with reporters following Lamont’s reaction to President George Bush’s statements on the situation in Lebanon said Connecticut is one of a handful of state’s that allows for a petitioning candidate to get on the ballot after losing a primary. Lamont asked “What’s that law called, again?” Swan replied the “Sore loser” law.