Facing Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s independent candidacy, Republican officials at the state and national level have made the extraordinary decision to abandon their official candidate, and some are actively working to help Mr. Lieberman win in November.
Despite Mr. Lieberman’s position that he will continue to caucus with Democrats if re-elected, all three Republican Congressional candidates in Connecticut have praised Mr. Lieberman and have not endorsed the party’s nominee, Alan Schlesinger. An independent group with Republican ties is raising money for Mr. Lieberman, who has been a strong supporter of President Bush on the Iraq war.
Senator John McCain of Arizona, while saying he would support the Republican nominee, is not planning to campaign for him, and even allowed two of his aides to consult with the Lieberman camp before the Aug. 8 Democratic primary. And Newt Gingrich, the Republican who once served as House speaker, has endorsed Mr. Lieberman’s candidacy.
Alan Schlesinger isn't at all pleased by this development. I can't say that I blame him. Both parties have stood by worse candidates in the past.
Mr. Schlesinger has reacted bitterly to the rejection by his own party, dismissing calls for him to leave the race. He maintains he can win by conveying his conservative platform to voters.
“Washington and the media have attempted to hijack this election and turn it into a referendum on the future of the national Democratic Party,” Mr. Schlesinger said in an interview on Friday. “Their interest is not in electing a Republican in Connecticut, or anyone in particular in Connecticut.”
Republican doubts about Mr. Schlesinger were crystallized when the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, pointedly refused on Monday to say the White House would endorse him. Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee — whose job is to champion Republican candidates everywhere — pledged to “stay out of this one.”
This is a national effort to steer Connecticut's general election. It's not about supporting local Republicans. It's not even about supporting Joe Lieberman. It's about making sure the Democrat loses. Whether or not that's a fair strategy is debatable. What's clear is the GOP's intention to support an Independent, at the expense of their own candidate, solely to keep the Democrat from winning.
Kornblutt, Anne E. "G.O.P. Deserts One of Its Own for Lieberman". New York Times. 8/19/06