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Republicans to Endorse Lieberman?

Connecticut GOP bigwigs have been pushing Alan Schlessinger (their own home grown Bill Bennett) to slide off the ticket as the party nominee, but people are split as to why.  Some think that the GOP will try to put a strong candidate on, others that they are clearing the way to endorse Holy Joe.  I find that when I ask folks familiar with local politics that they seem to be split about 50/50 in their predictions.  

Put two more in the "GOP Hearts Lieberman" column.  Kevin Rennie:

At least two prominent Republicans think that if Schlesinger can be nixed from his spot on the ballot, it should be given to Senator Joseph Lieberman if he loses the August 8th primary to challenger Ned Lamont.

Nobody would be surprised if one of those was Chris Shays, who has already endorsed Lieberman.  Shays had been forcing his Democratic anti-war opponent, Dianne Farrell, into silence over the issue in the past by forcing her to run against Lieberman if she tries to speak out against the war.  But Farrell seems to be speaking more freely these days. 

From today’s Courant:

Chris Shays is happy to make his re-election race a referendum on the Iraq war.

So is Democratic challenger Diane G. Farrell, his opponent in one of the nation’s most closely watched congressional races.

And so their battle for the 4th Congressional District seat has become a showcase for Iraq’s political potency. In few of the country’s 435 House races this year is the contrast between two candidates so vivid and so stark.

While Shays was meeting this weekend with Iraqi officials and others and reporting tentative but tangible progress in the troubled nation, Farrell was back home, aiming howitzers at the 19-year Republican incumbent.

Shays returned with a cautiously upbeat assessment. "We have a strong prime minister," he said. "We’re going to know a heck of a lot more in the next six weeks."

Farrell thought Shays was delusional. "He has an absolute stubbornness about this issue," she said. "So much of his focus and his energy is on Iraq, but I don’t think he’s being honest with himself about what’s happening over there."

Nationally, Democrats relish the Shays-Farrell duel over Iraq. They regard the southwestern Connecticut district as one of their juiciest 2006 targets, not only because Farrell is well-known and well-funded and came close to beating Shays last time, but it’s one of the few GOP-held districts that President Bush lost by sizable margins in both 2000 and 2004.

Certainly Shays would love to have Holy Joe for cover at the top of the Warmonger ticket, but it’s nice to see Farrell untangling herself from the horrible compromises Lieberman’s presence has forced her into.

Meanwhile, Ned’s new ad highlights just how enthusiastic Connecticut voters are about the war.  I’m sure Shays must mean it when he says he’s thriled to run on a war that is going so swimmingly.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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