The New York Times and two Connecticut newspapers are reporting that U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman has decided he will not run for re-election in 2012.
Lieberman, whose term is up in 2012, chose to retire rather than risk being defeated, said one Times source who told the paper they talked to Lieberman on Tuesday.
“I don’t think he wanted to go out feet first,” the person said, according to the Times.
The Stamford Advocate and the Dansbury News-Times state that Lieberman has scheduled a news conference in Stamford, Conn., on Wednesday to announce his decision not to run. The newspapers attributed their report to three sources described as close to Lieberman.
Lieberman supported Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain over then-candidate Barack Obama for president in 2008.
Officially listed in Senate records as an “Independent Democrat,” Lieberman caucuses with Democrats.
A frequent lightning rod for his party’s left wing, in 2006 he lost in Connecticut’s Democratic primary race to Ned Lamont. But he ran as an independent in the general election, and defeated Lamont to return to the Senate.
News that Lieberman apparently may seek another term came only hours after former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz announced she plans to run for the job. Other candidates are expected to vie for the post as well.
Lieberman is serving his fourth term in the Senate. In 2000, he ran as the vice presidential candidate on Al Gore’s unsuccessful presidential ticket, as the first Jewish candidate nominated to run on the presidential ticket of a major U.S. political party.
Not everyone is convinced Lieberman will bow out of Senate politics Wednesday, however. One veteran Connecticut Democrat told the Washington Post on Tuesday: “Half of us believe he is running, half believe he's not. This is a guy who always zigs when people expect him to zag."
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