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Leading senator Joe Lieberman meets defeat

Written by: Staff

Washington, Aug 9 (UNI) An anti-war challenger Ned Lamont, prevailed other veteran Senator from Connecticut, Joseph Lieberman, who narrowly lost the Senate Democratic party primaries in an election that virtually turned out to be a referendum on Lieberman's support for the Iraq war.

This means the Democratic Party has denied a ticket to Mr Lieberman to contest the Senate elections to be held this November 7.

Mr Lieberman has won the Senate race from Connecticut three times in his political career.

His latest and lost bid for re-nomination comes exactly six years after he was chosen as Al Gore's vice-presidential running mate, marking a fall from grace among his fellow Democrats signalling the growing strength of the antiwar movement inside the Democratic Party.

Mr Lamont, 52, is a wealthy Greenwich, Connecticut businessman whose great-grandfather Thomas W Lamont was a chairman of J P Morgan&Co. He made a fortune in the telecommunications industry but is a relative newcomer to politics, having served previously as a Greenwich selectman. He lost a bid for the state Senate in 1990.

The Senate primary elections was watched closely around the country as a barometer of antiwar sentiment that could shape the November midterm elections, particularly in Democratic-leaning states.

The Democratic Party itself has long been split over national security and whose congressional leaders and prospective 2008 presidential candidates have struggled to find consensus on the war.

Democratic leaders have also sought to project the contest here as being more about Democratic frustration with the president as with the war.

Thus the Connecticut primary is likely send a message to Democrats of all shades that they should take a more aggressive posture in combating the president and his policies at home and abroad.

Mr Lieberman publicly conceded his defeat in the primary shortly after 0500 hrs (GMT), after a congratulatory call to Lamont. But he appeared almost exuberant in defeat, telling supporters at a hotel in Hartford that he planned to run as an independent in November and predicting that he would be returned to the Senate for a fourth term.

Mr Lieberman has been accused by many in his own party of being too accommodating to President George Bush, that led to his defeat.

Mr Lieberman, 64, was first elected to the Senate in 1988, defeating Republican incumbent Lowell P Weicker Jr. Earlier he served as Connecticut Attorney General. In this three terms in the Senate, he became one of the party's most prominent hawks on military matters and an advocate of bipartisanship who sometimes relished his reputation for crossing party lines on matters of principle.

Mr Lamont built his campaign initially with the enthusiastic support of the ''Net root'', bloggers and other Internet-based activists, and then expanded with a grass-roots campaign that attracted rank-and-file Democrats who opposed the war and who complained that Mr Lieberman had neglected the interests of his home state.


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