Hartford, Conn. Sen. Joe Lieberman made an unusual pitch to people outside Connecticut when he conceded the state's Democratic primary to Ned Lamont and announced plans to run as an independent.
"If you're disappointed with the ugly tone of our politics, if you're fed up with the nasty partisanship in Washington, then I ask your help, too," said Lieberman, who was criticized as being pro-war and too close to the Republican administration.
Lieberman called on people nationwide to visit his Web site and send ideas "on how we can build this new politics of unity and purpose." He also hit them up for campaign contributions.
Lieberman's plea to voters beyond Connecticut comes as many Democratic Party leaders in and out of the state are abandoning the three-term incumbent and publicly endorsing Lamont. Several have urged Lieberman to withdraw from the race.
However, the centrist Democrat has the benefit of being well known outside his state. Aside from being the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000 and a presidential hopeful in 2004, Lieberman also is part of the so-called Gang of 14, the bipartisan group of moderate senators who have tried to work together on various issues.
"Lieberman has a national reputation. He was on a national ticket," said Ken Dautrich, a University of Connecticut public policy professor.
Though the appeal to a national audience is an unusual move for a state election, Dautrich said it makes sense for Lieberman. He said Lamont has already benefited from national support, including MoveOn.org, the liberal Internet-based organization whose members have contributed more than $250,000 to the anti-war candidate.
Lamont's campaign said Lieberman's pitch to people outside the state is an example of the senator trying desperately to hold on to power.