- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

1:08 p.m.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Sen. Joe Lieberman is locked in a battle with a political novice backed by antiwar sentiment in the nation’s most closely watched primary race today.

A new poll showed the race tightening between the Connecticut Democrat and antiwar challenger Ned Lamont, with Mr. Lamont holding a slight lead. Mr. Lieberman has said he will run as an independent in the fall if he is defeated in the primary.

Jack Ellovich said he voted for Mr. Lieberman, citing the three-term senator’s experience.

“He’s already got the standing in the Senate,” Mr. Ellovich said after casting his vote at a downtown Hartford precinct. “I think he can get stuff done for Connecticut, and I don’t think Lamont really knows how the system works.”

Others, however, say they were swayed by the 2000 vice presidential candidate’s support for the Iraq war and said he is too close to Republicans and President Bush.

“I’m completely for Lamont because of the war issue. I’m totally disgusted with Lieberman and his positions. I think he sold us out,” teacher William Clement, 57, said after casting his vote for Mr. Lamont in Hartford’s west end.

“He’s more like Bush than anything else. I think he’s [Mr. Bushs] little puppet,” voter Raymond Deauchemn, 55, said in Norwich.

Mr. Lamont, the millionaire owner of a cable television company, held a slight lead of 51 percent to 45 percent over Mr. Lieberman among likely Democratic voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday. The telephone poll of 784 likely Democratic primary voters, conducted from July 31 to Aug. 6, has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Elections also are being held today in Colorado, Missouri, Michigan and Georgia. In Georgia, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who made headlines this year for a scuffle with a U.S. Capitol Police officer, faced a runoff for her district’s Democratic nomination.

Mrs. McKinney sought to counter her opponent’s charge that the six-term congresswoman is “the candidate of polarization and divisiveness.”

Mrs. McKinney, the state’s first black woman in Congress, once claimed the Bush administration had advance knowledge of the September 11, 2001, attacks. In March, she struck a Capitol Police officer who did not recognize her and tried to stop her from entering a House office building.

A grand jury in Washington declined to indict her, but she was forced to apologize in the full House. She drew less than 50 percent of the vote in last month’s primary and faced Hank Johnson, the black former commissioner of DeKalb County, which encompasses much of Atlanta.

In a radio ad, Mrs. McKinney acknowledged that she’s “not perfect. But I’ve worked hard, told you the truth, and I’m not afraid to speak truth to power,” she said.

In other primaries today:

• In Colorado’s heavily conservative 5th District, voters chose among six Republican candidates to succeed retiring Rep. Joel Hefley, a 10-year veteran. The winner will face Democratic Air Force veteran Jay Fawcett. In another race, three Democrats competed to replace Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republican nominee for governor.

• Michigan Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz faced a serious challenge from former state lawmaker Tim Walberg. Mr. Schwarz, a moderate Republican, was backed by President Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain and the National Rifle Association.

• Missouri Republican Sen. Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill, the state auditor, were expected to win their parties primaries.

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