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 DurbinSenate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Overnight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — GOP lawmaker pushes back on Trump drug pricing plan | Pfizer to raise prices on 41 drugs next year | Grassley opts for Finance gavel McConnell: Criminal justice bill unlikely this year 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 KerryTrump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Kerry: ‘People are going to die' due to Trump's withdrawal from Paris climate deal Kerry tears into Trump for skipping visit to military cemetery: ‘Truculent child president’ 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 McCainDem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Cindy McCain takes aim at Trump: We need a strong leader, 'not a negative Nancy' MORE (R-Ariz.) for president last year. His speech at the Republican National Convention last summer, which lauded McCain and blasted Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaSome of us Midwesterners think maybe Amy Klobuchar would do OK as president FDA tobacco crackdown draws fire from right As Democrats gear up to challenge Trump in 2020, the key political divide will be metropolitan versus rural 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.