Former CT Senator Joe Lieberman Passes at 82

Joseph Lieberman (he/him, I-CT), known for serving Connecticut in the U.S. Senate for 24 years and switching parties during his last term, has passed away at age 82. His passing follows his selection as the the first Orthodox Jewish vice president nominee of a major party in 2000. The founder of the No Labels party passed away on March 27, 2024 in his home in New York City, according to his wife Hadassah (she/her).  

One of the biggest highlights of his career was Lieberman being Al Gore’s (he/him, D) nominee for vice president when Gore was running in 2000. Lieberman, being the Jewish candidate to be nominated by a major party member, was considered a huge breakthrough for Jewish Americans in politics. Had he won, he would have been the first Jewish vice president in American history. 

Following his run for the vice presidency, Lieberman sought candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004; his campaign failed to gain momentum and he dropped out weeks into the campaign. Lieberman was considered a centrist democrat in the Senate, bucking his own party on certain issues, such as his support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq which followed the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. Drawing criticisms from his own party, Lieberman lost the democratic nomination to businessman and, at the time, future CT governor Ned Lamont (he/him, D). Lieberman left the Democratic party and became independent, winning his election in 2006. In 2008, he broke with his party to endorse Republican Senator John McCain (he/him, R-AZ) over fellow Democrat Barack Obama (he/him, D-IL). Lieberman retired from the U.S. Senate in 2012, parting with his statement that “it is the partisan polarization of our politics which prevents us from making the principled compromises on which progress in a democracy depends, and right now, which prevents us from restoring our fiscal solvency as a nation. We need bipartisan leadership to break the gridlock in Washington that will unleash all the potential that is in the American people” (CNN). 

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