U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who relaunched his campaign as an independent after losing the Democratic primary, has enough valid voter signatures to secure a spot on the November ballot, the secretary of the state announced Wednesday.
Lieberman far exceeded the 7,500 signatures necessary to be certified as a third-party candidate, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said.
His name will appear on the general election ballot under his newly created party, Connecticut for Lieberman. By creating the party, Lieberman secured a position higher on the ballot than he would have had as an independent.
"We are happy to have cleared this hurdle, so we can focus on bringing people together in Connecticut for a new politics of unity and purpose," said Dan Gerstein, Lieberman's campaign spokesman.
Lieberman lost the Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont, a Greenwich businessman who criticized Lieberman for his support of the Iraq war and perceived closeness to President Bush. Lamont's 10,000-vote victory was seen as a referendum on an unpopular war.
The day after the primary, Lieberman submitted petitions to create his own political party and appear on the ballot along with Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger.
Lieberman says he would still vote with Democrats if elected to a fourth term.
Lamont's campaign manager, Tom Swan, said he was "confident that our message of change will trump his stay-the-course message in November."
National Democrats came out in support of Lamont shortly after the election.
The United Auto Workers endorsed Lamont on Wednesday, a day after representatives of about other 20 union locals held a rally for Lieberman.
The UAW's political action committee offered Lamont $5,000 Wednesday, but the multimillionaire said he is not accepting PAC contributions. UAW regional director Bob Madore promised him 5,000 volunteers instead. The UAW has about 20,000 active and retired members in Connecticut.
Lieberman is accepting PAC contributions.
An American Research Group poll released Tuesday showed Lieberman and Lamont about even among likely voters, with Lieberman receiving 44 percent of the vote, Lamont 42 percent and Schlesinger 3 percent. Last week, a Quinnipiac University poll showed Lieberman leading Lamont by 12 percentage points among likely voters.
Lieberman's new political party will appear on the ballot after the two major parties and several existing third parties that have run candidates in the past.
Both Green Party candidate Ralph A. Ferrucci and Concerned Citizens candidate Timothy A. Knibbs were approved for the ballot Wednesday. Their parties must submit an official endorsement of their candidates by Sept. 13. Bysiewicz said signatures are still being verified for the Independent Party of Connecticut.