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Monday, May 22, 2006

The sleeper awakes

After a well needed rest, I'm back on the scene.

Seems like people are still talking about Ned Lamont's impressive showing at the Democratc State Convention. Those people at Lieberman's camp must be pretty smart seeing that they were the only people predicting that Lamont would get over 30 percent of the vote (nice going guys).

Many of the delegates that I talked to on the floor told me that Lamont's numbers would of been higher if the vote was done by secret ballot. Even those who voted for Lieberman had a hard time defending him and I was amazed when many told me personally that they would of voted differently if the voting situation was different.

One thing is clear (and it was pretty obvious to everyone at the convention), Lieberman is in serious trouble and Lamont should get a boost after his impressive showing Friday night.

Think I'm kidding, lets take a look at what others had to say. Now, keep in mind that I was at the convention and everything in this article is accurate.
From the start of the Democratic state convention Friday night, there was something different from past gatherings of the faithful. Even U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, always a crowd favorite, could not work his usual magic with a speech nominating his senatorial colleague Joseph I. Lieberman for re-election. He sounded hackneyed compared to Annie Lamont's earnest seconding speech for her insurgent husband.


When Ned Lamont captured a staggering third of the 1,509 votes cast Friday, the green challenger's handlers were the most surprised camp in Hartford's Expo Center. The Lamont campaign got a late start this past winter and wondered as recently as a week ago if it would reach the 15 percent threshold required to get on the ballot without resorting to the laborious petition alternative. In the end, Lamont showed support across the state. (I was surprised too, and point out that a week ago I dismissed Lieberman consultant Roy Occhiogrosso's prediction that Lamont could get 30 to 40 percent of the vote.)


Discomfort turned to pain for the Lieberman campaign when the first town in the 1st Congressional District began the roll call: Barkhamsted cast its two votes for Lamont. The challenger received votes in town after town, sometimes one at a time, sometimes considerably more. When once Lieberman-friendly Windsor cast 13 of its 17 votes for Lamont, a roar of surprise filled the hall. Lamont would sail past the crucial 15 percent threshold before reaching his 4th Congressional District stronghold. Lieberman ought to be grateful it was not a secret ballot. If it had been, some of the 100 missing delegates might have found the backbone to vote.


The darkest omens for Lieberman came near the end of the night when Southbury, nearly the last to vote, announced it was still waiting for a response to a winter invitation to Lieberman to meet. Until he does, Southbury cast five votes for Lamont, three abstentions and zero for Lieberman. One of the night's loudest cheers rang out.

By now, the Lieberman crowd was beaten, even with 65 percent of the vote. A curiosity in January, the Lamont campaign has become a growing army that could overthrow the incumbent in the Aug. 8 primary. For 90 minutes, party loyalists who have known Joe Lieberman for decades rose and turned their backs on him in favor of an engaging stranger.

The proceedings ended with the crowd ignoring another state party icon. When U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, bounced onto the stage to accept the nomination on Lieberman's behalf, the crowd beat a retreat to the hospitality tents outside. DeLauro addressed the backs of heads while history marched on to the state's first primary challenge of an incumbent U.S. senator.
Ouch. Poor Joe. Like I said, even Stevie Wonder could see that there was no love for Bush's favorite Democrat among the delegates Friday night.

I still have many interviews, photos, and videos to show you from this wekend. There were many things that happened inside and outside the convention which was not covered in the press but I'll bring you the details over the next few days. CTBob and I have hours of juicy material to process and we both just woke up from our coma so please bear with us.