Sen. Joe Lieberman filed to run for re-election in November as an independent, saying Wednesday it would be "irresponsible and inconsistent with my principles" to quit. But Democratic leaders in Washington rallied around the man who beat him for the nomination, Ned Lamont.
In a statement issued in Washington, two top Senate Democrats - Harry Reid of Nevada and Chuck Schumer of New York - said they "fully support" Lamont, an anti-war candidate who tapped into voter anger over Lieberman's support of the Iraq war.
"The perception was that (Lieberman) was too close to George Bush and this was, in many respects, a referendum on the president more than anything else," said Reid and Schumer, the party's leader and the head of its campaign committee, respectively.
Similarly, Lieberman's fellow Connecticut senator, Chris Dodd, who had been campaigning for Lieberman, said he regretted his close friend's decision and would now campaign for Lamont.
The final returns from Tuesday's primary showed Lamont defeating Lieberman 52 percent to 48 percent.
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