Sore Losers All Around

There are “sore loser” stories abounding today and not just in Connecticut. There, Senator Lieberman has announced he is running as an Independent for the cleverly-named “Connecticut for Lieberman” Party, as reported in Time online. The state has a history of sore losers, as has been reported in several stories, including this one in The Washington Post. And as Bruce Shapiro writes in The Nation:

By continuing to run as an independent, Lieberman leaves behind John Bailey’s Democratic Party once and for all. He is pinning his hopes, ironically enough, on Connecticut voters’ willingness more than a decade ago to embrace Lowell Weicker’s independent candidacy for governor after his Senate defeat. He’s counting, too, on the weakness of little-known Republican nominee Alan Schlesinger.

Lieberman in a sober moment might instead think back to 1970, the year he entered the state legislature. That year, with the country divided by Vietnam, three-term, once-invulnerable Connecticut cold war hawk Thomas Dodd, censured by the Senate for taking illegal campaign contributions and in failing health, decided to forgo a Democratic primary altogether. Instead, he entered the general election as an independent against Democratic nominee Joseph Duffey. Just enough of Dodd’s old supporters followed him out of the party to insure that both he and Duffey went down in flames. Dodd’s Senate seat went to an unknown Republican–Lowell Weicker.

Connecticut has a history with sore losers who run again. The Secretary of State wants to put an end to this, as reported on NPR, by passing a “sore loser” law that would ban losers in primaries from running in the general election.

Ironically, just such a law is creating headaches for Republicans in Ohio. There, the candidate that Republicans have selected to run for the seat held by Bob Ney is a primary loser from this year and questions are being raised about whether she is covered by that state’s “sore loser” law. As the Associated Press reported,

The leading Republican candidate to replace scandal-scarred Rep. Bob Ney on the November ballot may be ineligible, party officials said Tuesday, complicating GOP efforts to assure a smooth transition for the fall campaign.

In stepping down, Ney threw his support to Padgett, who also said she had been encouraged by House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, to run. One Republican strategist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said lawyers had concluded Padgett was likely covered by the so-called political sore loser’s law and thus would not be eligible to run.

But Bob Bennett, the state party chairman, said he didn’t believe the law applied to her, and said he would seek a formal ruling from the secretary of state. One official said the legal controversy arose at least in part because the law as drafted differed from what lawmakers had said they intended which was to prevent a primary loser from later filing as a candidate in the same race.

Gov. Bob Taft is expected to set a date for a primary to fill the ballot vacancy.

Georgia has a “sore loser” law, which means that losing incumbent House member Cynthia McKinney cannot run as an independent.