Lieberman open to reunion with Democrats

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is not ruling out running as a Democratic candidate in his reelection race in 2012.

Lieberman said on Thursday that he has been asked by friends about the possibility of returning to the party that nominated him for vice president in 2000.

With his reelection race not imminent, however, Lieberman said the only probability for now is that he will seek a fifth term.

“It’s a ways away,” Lieberman told The Hill. “I’ve been asked, ‘Are you running?’ and I’ve said, ‘You have to always assume that anybody in office is running until and unless they not only announce but they actually leave the office to run for reelection.’

“I’m an independent Democrat, and that gives me options,” he added.

Asked if his recent overtures toward the Democratic Party make it likely that he will formally rejoin the party, Lieberman hedged.

“I wouldn’t reach that conclusion,” he said.

Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Durbin says he hopes enough GOP senators know that 'history will find you' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE (D-Ill.) said running as a Democrat is up to Lieberman, noting he has not yet had any talks with him about doing so. But Durbin said Lieberman this year has lived up to his promise to be a loyal and reliable vote on Democratic priorities.

“I will tell you this: I think it was a very good and wise decision for us to include Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Conference,” Durbin said. “He has really been valuable to us. On the stimulus package, he was an important part of bringing the negotiations together. He’s been terrific on the floor. I’m just glad to have him on board.”

In 2006, Lieberman lost his Democratic primary race against telecommunications executive and anti-Iraq war activist Ned Lamont. Lieberman subsequently launched an Independent bid and held onto his seat. Lieberman’s longtime Senate friends, including Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), John KerryJohn Forbes KerryDemocratic debates are magnet for lobbyists The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Bring on the brokered convention MORE (D-Mass.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), supported Lamont in the general election.

Despite being disappointed by Dodd’s backing of Lamont, Lieberman told The Hill this week that he supports Dodd in his reelection bid next year.

Lieberman backed Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Meghan McCain blasts NY Times: 'Everyone already knows how much you despise' conservative women GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (R-Ariz.) for president last year. His speech at the Republican National Convention last summer, which lauded McCain and blasted Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama marks MLK Day by honoring King for his 'poetic brilliance' and 'moral clarity' Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina National Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo MORE, infuriated Senate Democrats.

However, Obama and other Democrats earlier this year spoke out in favor of Lieberman keeping his gavel of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Senate Democrats ultimately voted to allow Lieberman to remain as chairman.

Since the election, Lieberman has praised the early stages of Obama’s presidency.