Lieberman to sit down with new Dem Senate campaign chief at her request

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) told The Ballot Box that he plans to sit down with incoming Senate campaign chief Patty Murray (D-Wash.) at her request.

Lieberman said he had a brief conversation with the new chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) earlier Wednesday.

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"She said, 'I want to sit down and talk with you soon,' " Lieberman said. "We just had that exchange earlier today."

With control of the upper chamber on the line in 2012, Lieberman's reelection plans are the subject of intense speculation. He caucuses with Democrats, but there have been reports the GOP would be interested in having Lieberman run under its banner.

Should the four-term senator opt to seek another term as an independent, he'll have to regain his spot on the ballot. That would mean the creation of another party banner to officially run under — not an overwhelming task, given the state's ballot-access laws. (Lieberman ran under the Connecticut for Lieberman party in 2006.)

Another Independent run from Lieberman would put the DSCC in the same awkward spot it found itself during the 2006 campaign — the committee supported Democratic nominee Ned Lamont in that race. In 2012, there is almost certain to be an official Democratic candidate pushed by the party's liberal base whom the DSCC would be pressured to support. But Democrats would also want Lieberman to keep caucusing with their party should he win reelection.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) told a Connecticut newspaper that he's weighing a Lieberman challenge and will make a decision at the end of the lame-duck session.   

On Wednesday, Lieberman said that given the Senate debate on "Don't ask, don't tell," he's had little time to think about 2012, much less any potential challengers.  

"It's not something I've been thinking about lately at all," he said. "I've just been focused on the legislation in the lame duck, but I'm going to make a decision early next year. I'll be thinking about it over the break."


This post was updated at 5:16 p.m.