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Posted at 10:14 AM ET, 12/19/2010

Lieberman: Re-election decision separate from "don't ask, don't tell"

By Felicia Sonmez

Connecticut Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman told reporters on Saturday that his decision on whether to run for re-election in 2012 will be unrelated to the Senate's historic vote to repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

"I think it's a separate event," Lieberman said when asked whether Saturday's passage of the repeal bill, of which Lieberman was a lead sponsor, might influence his decision on whether to retire or run for a fifth term.

If he runs for re-election in 2012, Lieberman faces the question of whether to run again as an independent or possibly as a Democrat or Republican. Already, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) has signaled that he's weighing a challenge against Lieberman.

On Friday, Lieberman said he'll "more likely" run as an independent, but on Saturday he told reporters that he hasn't made up his mind about his re-election bid and will make a decision "by sometime early in January."

(We argued on Thursday that running as an independent is Lieberman's best -- and probably only -- path to winning in 2012.)

Lieberman also dismissed reports that he's chatted with National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) about potentially running as a Republican.

"John Cornyn and I always exchange patter and banter, but nothing serious," Lieberman said.

By Felicia Sonmez  | December 19, 2010; 10:14 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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