- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2006

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Ned Lamont, a multimillionaire businessman from well-heeled Greenwich, was unknown to most Connecticut Democrats when he announced his plans in March to challenge Sen. Joe Lieberman in the primary election.

But Mr. Lamont made political history Tuesday by defeating the 18-year incumbent and forcing Mr. Lieberman to run as independent in November.

“They call Connecticut the land of steady habits,” Mr. Lamont told a cheering crowd after election results showed him leading 52 percent to 48 percent. “Tonight we voted for a big change.”

A political neophyte, Mr. Lamont, 52, has ridden a wave of Democratic anger over the Iraq war and Mr. Lieberman’s perceived ties to President Bush.

It is a political coup for a man whose elective experience is minimal. He dealt with potholes and town budgets for two years as a Greenwich selectman. He also spent six years on the town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation. His experience comes mostly from the business world: His company, Lamont Digital Systems, wires college campuses for cable television.

“A year ago I was at college campuses, but I was pulling fiber optic cable through underground conduits,” Mr. Lamont said at a recent college appearance. “I felt very strongly on some issues and I was thinking about the fact that somebody should challenge Joe Lieberman. As you know, I wasn’t necessarily thinking that it was going to be Ned Lamont.”

Since starting his campaign, he has been able to tap into his vast wealth and voters’ frustration with Mr. Lieberman. The great-grandson of the former chairman of JP Morgan & Co., Mr. Lamont was born in Washington and grew up in Syosset, N.Y., with a trust fund. His money — he estimates that he is worth $90 million to $300 million — comes mostly from the company he founded in 1984 with a bank loan. He has spent at least $3 million of his own money on the race.

Mr. Lamont is a father of three, and his wife, Annie, is the managing partner of a venture capital firm. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in sociology and pursued a master’s degree at Yale in public and private management. In between, he ran a weekly newspaper in Ludlow, Vt.

Mr. Lieberman has tried to portray his rival as an inexperienced, flip-flopping millionaire whose only motivation for being liberal is to win the Senate seat.

“I expect my opponent will continue to do in the general election what he has done in the primary. Polarizing instead of talking about how he can solve people’s problems. Insults instead of ideas,” Mr. Lieberman said Tuesday night.

Mr. Lamont’s campaign says that Mr. Lieberman is a desperate career politician trying to keep his job.

“I’m very proud of the voters of Connecticut who had the courage to stand up and vote for change,” said Tom Swan, Mr. Lamont’s campaign manager. “We believe that tonight’s voting will provide independent and other voters in Connecticut with a ray of hope for change that many of us haven’t experienced in decades.”


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