Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dayton Supports Lamont, Landrieu and Inouye Go For Joe

Maybe I would get better results in my struggle to get a firm answer out of U.S. Senators on supporting Ned Lamont if I asked them first about something more in the center of the average American's radar -- like the new arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey case. I've been making slow, but steady progress in trying to update the support-Lamont scorecard -- in which I keep track of which Democratic Senators are showing loyalty to their national party and respecting the will of Connecticut voters -- and, despite the difficulty in getting answers, have almost accounted for all of them.

As of late Wednesday night we had 26 Senate Democrats supportive of Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman. Here's the roster:

The only addition yesterday was outgoing Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton, who is retiring after November, and has pledged his support for Lamont. Dayton's Deputy Press Secretary, Jodi Niehoff, confirmed with me yesterday, saying "Senator Dayton supports the Democratic nominee, Ned Lamont."

I've added two to the list of people supporting Joe Lieberman over their party's nominee in Connecticut. Here's the whole lot of them:

Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) Communications Director, Adam Sharp, confirmed that Landrieu was staying true to her gang-of-14 roots and sticking with Lieberman over Lamont.

"Senator Landrieu is supporting Senator Lieberman," said Sharp. " She did state her support publicly before the primary, as reported by the Times Picayune and called Senator Lieberman the day after the primary to reiterate her position."

Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) was a tougher nut to crack. I've gotten at least 50 e-mails from readers this week saying that Inouye is firmly for Lieberman, but most of that knowledge was based on Inouye quotes from before the Connecticut primary. I've had two phone calls and two e-mails asking for a statement ignored by the Inouye camp so, after looking again, I found this passage from the August 6 Honolulu Star-Bulletin:
If he loses to anti-war Democrat Lamont in the primary, Lieberman says he is considering going into the general election anyway by running as an independent. And Inouye said he would remain with the hawkish Lieberman.

"My endorsement goes from here to November to December to January," Inouye said.
I guess that's as close as we're going to get to recent news on Inouye so, with that, he joins the team of Senate Democrats not supporting a Democratic candidate.

I've also added another to the "firm about not being firm" group of Senators who simply refuse to take a stand for Democrat Lamont. As of Tuesday, we had Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Carl Levin (D-MI) in that crew and yesterday we added Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas.

"Senator Lincoln remains neutral in the Connecticut Senate general election," said her press secretary, Katie Laning.

I sent an e-mail back asking Ms. Laning if Lincoln is sure that's the story she wants to stick to, given that she's on the leadership team on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) whose mission is to…. elect Democrats.

No response to that.

Finally, my friend Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny and Firedoglake checks in with a live chat transcript from Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, who we hope will give Republican Senator Mike DeWine the boot in November.

Brown is unabashedly for Lamont.
"Many of you have mentioned Ned Lamont. I want to make it clear that I fully support Ned Lamont. I look forward to serving with a fellow progressive in the U.S. Senate. Lamont’s victory shows that anybody who is too close to George Bush and is a defender of the status quo is in trouble this year.

"DeWine will lose this election for the same reasons why Lieberman lost his race."
Now, that's what we like to hear from a Democrat!

So our scorecard going into August 17 is 26 Democratic Senators for Lamont, six who have forgotten their party affiliation, three who have lost their political compass altogether and eight who have just flat-out dropped out of sight.

Here's the contact information for the eight no-shows and three people "neutral" on a race between a Democrat and an Independent:

Max Baucus (MT) 202-224-2651
Web Form:

Jeff Bingaman (NM) 202-224-5521

Robert Byrd (WV) 202-224-3954
Web Form:

Kent Conrad (ND) 202-224-2043
Web Form:

Byron Dorgan (ND) 202-224-2551

Tim Johnson (SD) 202-224-5842
Web Form:

Carl Levin (MI) 202-224-6221
Web Form:

Blanche Lincoln (AR) 202-224-4843
Web Form:

Barbara Mikulski (MD) 202-224-4654
Web Form:

Bill Nelson (FL) 202-224-5274
Web Form:

Paul Sarbanes (MD) 202-224-4524
Web Form:

They still need to hear from us, but keep the invective to a minimum with Max Baucus as he's just lost his nephew to the Iraq war and has been understandably out of the loop. As an alternative, give his staff hell because they're supposed to be covering for him right now -- and they're failing.

You can reach Bob Geiger at