With less than 30 days to go, the daggers have come out in the race for U.S. Senate. The tone and the criticism has gotten harsher between the two top candidates: incumbent U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman and Democratic challenger Ned Lamont. George Jepsen, co-chair of the Lamont campaign, stood with state legislators at the Capitol Tuesday to talk about Lieberman’s attendance record and a campaign promise he made 18 years ago. Jepsen said when Lieberman challenged moderate-Republican Lowell Weicker 1988 for the senate seat he promised not to miss more than 300 votes in 18 years and since then he’s missed more than 400.
“Recently, he’s explained that it’s ok to miss votes if his vote wouldn’t make a difference. Unfortunately, Senator Lieberman’s absenteeism is a big part of why he has failed to deliver for Connecticut,” Jepsen said. He pointed out that Connecticut received 88 cents for every dollar it sent to Washington DC in 1989, but in 2006 it receives 66 cents for every dollar. “When Joe talks about it’s okay to miss votes, it’s hurting Connecticut day in and day out,” Jepsen said. Click here to see Lamont’s new campaign ad on the subject. Lieberman’s campaign said it’s the 11th negative attack that the Lamont campaign has aired since the primary. Lieberman Campaign Manager Sherry Brown said Tuesday in a press release the ad “shows nothing more than Ned’s desperation and hypocrisy.” Click here to see Lieberman’s last ad, which is in the upper right hand corner of his Web site.Over the past six years Lieberman’s attendance in Congress has been extremely poor, Lamont’s campaign spokeswoman Liz Dupont Diehl pointed out in an email following the press conference. In the last six years Lieberman skipped one out of every six votes, and in the last four years that record increased to one out of every four, Dupont-Diehl wrote in an email. Records show that Lieberman’s is the second worst voting record in the Senate, Dupont-Diehl wrote. The only senator whose attendance record is worse than Lieberman’s is former Senator John Kerry’s. Kerry missed 534 votes. Lieberman’s campaign spokeswoman Tammy Sun asked, “Does Ned Lamont think that John Kerry has been a bad Senator for the state of Massachusetts?“Lamont is scheduled to campaign with Kerry in the next few weeks. Dupont-Diehl said she doesn’t think the Kerry missing votes and Lieberman missing votes are comparable, since it’s not only the quantity, but the quality of the votes he missed. She said he missed over half the votes on the war in Iraq, votes on Medicare Part D, and homeland security. He even missed a tie-breaking vote that could have brought more homeland security money back to Connecticut. Sun said 74 percent of the votes were missed during the period Lieberman was running for president in 2003 and 2004. He also missed a series of votes in 2005 when his mother died and another when he was running for vice-president with Al Gore, Sun said. Lamont’s campaign said the 14 votes he missed while grieving are insignificant, since it comprised about 3 percent of all votes he missed in the last 18 years. Lamont’s campaign says Lieberman missed 16 votes while campaigning for vice-president in 2000.Sun said, “if Mr. Lamont felt missing those votes was so egregious then why did he contribute to Lieberman’s campaign twice that year?” In 2003, well after the war in Iraq started, Lamont donated $500 twice to Lieberman’s campaign.