Lieberman re-election bid tops primary elections in five states | VailDaily.com
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Lieberman re-election bid tops primary elections in five states

HARTFORD, Conn. – Six years after becoming his party’s nominee for vice president, Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman faces a struggle to keep his Senate seat in Tuesday’s primary against an anti-war challenger.In Georgia, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who made headlines this year for a scuffle with a U.S. Capitol Police officer, is locked in a runoff for her district’s Democratic nomination.Primaries are also being held Tuesday in Colorado, Missouri and Michigan.Lieberman’s seat was the biggest prize at stake. The three-term senator, nationally known for his centrist views, faces harsh criticism in his home state for supporting the Iraq war and has been labeled by some Democrats as too close to Republicans and President Bush.Challenger Ned Lamont, a millionaire owner of a cable television company, held a slight lead of 51 percent to 45 percent over Lieberman among likely Democratic voters heading into Tuesday’s primary.The Quinnipiac University telephone poll of 784 likely Democratic primary voters, conducted from July 31 to Aug. 6, has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.The race has tightened in recent days, with Lamont’s lead cut from 13 points.Lieberman said he believes voters are coming back to him.”I feel they were flirting with the other guy for a while, wanting to send me a message,” he said Monday during a stop at a Cajun restaurant in Hartford. “I got their message. I think they want to send me back to Washington to continue working with them, fighting for them, and delivering for Connecticut.”Quinnipiac Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said people may be having second thoughts about Lamont, whose only political experience is two years as a Greenwich selectman and six years on the town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation.Many of Lamont’s supporters see the race as a chance to take down an incumbent senator and assume a bigger role in the Democratic party.”Connecticut can help determine the course. Do you want to stay the course or do you want to change course?” Lamont asked supporters Sunday.Lieberman has tried to persuade voters that he is still a true Democrat and says Lamont will need “training wheels” should he ultimately win the general election.Lieberman has promised to run in the general election as an independent should he lose Tuesday, although several prominent Democrats are said to be urging him otherwise. Supporters would have until Wednesday afternoon to submit petitions to put Lieberman’s name on the ballot.In Georgia, McKinney is trying to counter her opponent’s charge that the six-term congresswoman is “the candidate of polarization and divisiveness.”McKinney, the state’s first black woman in Congress, once claimed the Bush administration had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. In March, she struck a Capitol Police officer who did not recognize her and tried to stop McKinney from entering a House office building.A grand jury in Washington declined to indict her, but she was forced to apologize in the full House. She drew less than 50 percent of the vote in last month’s primary and faces off against Hank Johnson, the black former commissioner of DeKalb County, which encompasses much of Atlanta.In a radio ad, McKinney acknowledges that she’s “not perfect. But I’ve worked hard, told you the truth and I’m not afraid to speak truth to power,” she says.In other primaries Tuesday:- In Colorado’s heavily conservative 5th District, voters will choose among six GOP candidates to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Joel Hefley, a 10-year veteran. The winner will face Democratic Air Force veteran Jay Fawcett. In another race, three Democrats are competing to replace U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republican nominee for governor.- In Michigan, Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz faces a serious challenge from former state lawmaker Tim Walberg. Schwarz, a moderate Republican, is backed by President Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain and the National Rifle Association. But the race has been dominated by a struggle over GOP principles. Outside groups have spent more than $1 million on the race.- Missouri Republican Sen. Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill, the state auditor, are expected to win their party’s primaries. Voters will also decide whether to renew a 22-year-old sales tax to fund state parks and other conservation initiatives.


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