Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Update on Senate Democrats Supporting Ned Lamont

We have additions to the list of Democratic Senators supporting Ned Lamont as Connecticut's Democratic nominee to the U.S. Senate and, boy oh boy, am I learning what the phrase "like pulling teeth" means when used to describe a difficult undertaking. Most of the Senators' offices seem puzzled that their boss's support for Lamont is not incredibly well-known -- which strikes me a bit like whispering in the middle of an Aerosmith concert and then being shocked that nobody heard you.

That aside, I have five new confirmations on Senators supporting Ned Lamont and here's how our tote board now looks:

Our additions:
  • Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) supports Lamont says Howard Gantman, Feinstein's Communications Director. "I support the Democratic nominee -- Ned Lamont," says Feinstein, according to Gantman.
  • Patrick Morris, of Senator Herb Kohl's (D-WI) press office, had much more to say, which was a refreshing change compared to some other statements. "Senator Kohl has known and worked with Senator Lieberman for a long time, and respects his principled stands and commitment to public service," said Morris. "However, the voters of Connecticut have clearly chosen Ned Lamont to represent the Democratic Party this election year, and Senator Kohl honors their choice and will support their nominee this fall."
  • Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) Chief of Staff, Ed Pagano, confirms Leahy's support for Lamont, saying simply "Senator Leahy is supporting Ned Lamont."
  • While I have not yet heard back from Alex Glass, Communications Director for Patty Murray (D-WA), Dan Savage, editor of Seattle newspaper The Stranger, has confirmation from Glass. “Senator Murray will be supporting the Democratic nominee, Ned Lamont,” Glass is reported as saying.
  • Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) checks in via Communications Director Wendy Morigi, who says "I am confirming for you that Senator Rockefeller is supporting Ned Lamont’s candidacy in Connecticut."
I'm really starting to think that whoever is writing statements for these guys is charging by the word.

I understand where some of this originates -- they've worked with Joe Lieberman a long time and want to announce support for Lamont while not appearing to celebrate Lieberman's defeat.

But let's look at the Democratic Senators in our new category, which I'm calling "firm about not being firm" when it comes to the interesting situation in Connecticut.
  • Drey Samuelson, Chief of Staff for Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), responded quickly and very nicely saying he would get in touch with the Senator and inquire. He then got back to me, saying "Tim sees no need to endorse either candidate—it’s up to the voters of Connecticut to decide who represents them."
  • Carl Levin (D-MI) must feel the same way, because his Press Secretary, Tara Andringa, said he too didn’t want to get involved. "Sen. Levin has not made any comments about who, if anyone, he will endorse in the race," wrote Andringa.
I'm going back to both Senators' offices to ask again why the idea of simply stating support for the confirmed Democratic nominee is such a mind-bending quandary.

Finally, my runaround of the day happened in contacting the office of Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) to get a straight answer on the expected response -- that Nelson, who votes with the GOP side of the aisle more often than many Republicans, would stand firmly behind Lieberman.

Nelson's spokesman, David DiMartino, sent me a standard one-liner saying, on behalf of Nelson, "Joe Lieberman is my friend and I will support his decision." When I pushed back and asked if that means that he definitely supports Joe's reelection, I was told multiple times that "This is Senator Nelson’s public statement. It’s very clear."

Clear as mud, I guess. But we'll take a hint and consider Nelson confirmed in the Lieberman column.

So here's that lineup:

So our new count is, 25 Democratic Senators supporting Lamont, four behind Lieberman, two who find the situation too vexing to decide and 12 for whom I still have no straight answer.

Here's the contact information for the "firm about not being firm" and the Senators who still cannot bring themselves to say much of anything on the subject.

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:

Mark Dayton (MN) 202-224-3244
Web Form:

Byron Dorgan (ND) 202-224-2551

Daniel Inouye (HI) 202-224-3934
Web Form:

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

Mary Landrieu (LA) 202-224-5824
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:

Go on, give them a nudge.