Sen. Joe Lieberman continues to flex his independent muscles, indicating he might back Republican Linda McMahon’s bid to join him as a U.S. senator from Connecticut.
If Lieberman supports McMahon, who won her party’s nomination May 21 to run against Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal for the Senate seat, she would be the second major Republican candidate he has backed in two years.
Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, drew the ire of many liberals when he backed 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain. Many liberals hoped the Senate Democratic Caucus would expel him for doing so, but it declined.
Lieberman ran for re-election in 2006 as an independent after he lost the Democratic primary to businessman Ned Lamont. McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, backed Lieberman in 2006, while Blumenthal backed Lamont.
“She was good enough to support me financially and politically in the 2006 general election,” Lieberman said. “But as I say, these are important jobs at a tough time — so I’m going to watch these for awhile and enjoy watching it.”
As for formally endorsing McMahon, “I said I’m open,” Lieberman told POLITICO. “Is it theoretically possible? Yes. I probably know Blumenthal better, but I know Linda McMahon — she was on the state board of higher education, and I met with her a couple of times in that capacity. This is the great privilege that voters of Connecticut gave me in 2006 as an independent. Wait and see.”
Asked about Lieberman’s possible support for McMahon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sought to downplay it. “He’s an independent — what do you expect him to say?” Reid told reporters.
A Lieberman aide told POLITICO the senator merely repeated Thursday what he had said previously: that he had not made up his mind.
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