Lieberman: Call Me A Democrat

US Senator Joe Lieberman, Democratic Party donkey symbol over US Capitol building on flag texture
Sen. Joe Lieberman, who won re-election as a third-party candidate, has a message for his Senate colleagues in the next Congress: Call me a Democrat.

The three-term Connecticut lawmaker defied party leaders when he launched his independent bid after losing to Democrat Ned Lamont in the August primary. During the campaign, he vowed to be an "independent-minded Democrat" if he were re-elected. In Tuesday's election, Lieberman won strong GOP support, and given the closely divided Senate, Republicans are expected to court him.

So will he count as a Democrat or an independent who caucuses with the majority Democrats? In an e-mail message late Thursday, Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein said the senator will begin his new term as a Democrat.

With the Democratic takeover of the Senate, Lieberman is in line to become chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In a post-election news conference, Lieberman said he was reassured by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that he would retain his seniority when the new Senate convenes.

As for Lamont, the man who stunned the political world by knocking Lieberman out of the Democratic Party on the ballot, he said Thursday that he has no plans to run for office again but will remain active in public service.

"I'm going to stay involved, that's for sure," Lamont said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Politics is not something in my blood but public service is. I never rule anything in or out. It's not in my game plan right now."

Lieberman won decisively Tuesday with roughly 50 percent of the vote, to anti-war businessman Lamont's 40 percent. Republican Alan Schlesinger trailed far behind with 10 percent.