Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut vowed Tuesday night to stay in the Democratic presidential race despite a weak showing in the New Hampshire primary.
Finishing near the bottom in New Hampshire, where he has campaigned heavily for months, Lieberman nonetheless put a positive spin on the results.
“Today, the people of New Hampshire put me in the ring, and that’s where we’re going to stay,” Lieberman, his party’s vice presidential candidate in 2000, told a crowd of supporters after the polls closed.
Lieberman said he saw the results — which put him fifth with about 9 percent of the vote — as essentially a tie for third place with Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts finished first, and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was second.
“Thanks to the people of New Hampshire, we are in a three-way split decision for third place,” he said.
Looking ahead to Feb. 3
Lieberman was mired in single digits in New Hampshire opinion polls all week. But despite the not-unexpected weak showing, which could severely sap his campaign’s ability to raise money, he has said he is eyeing success in Oklahoma, Delaware and South Carolina, which hold primaries next week.
“The battle goes on,” he said to the crowd. “I’m getting on that plane, and we’re going to Oklahoma.”
Lieberman did not campaign in Iowa, where Kerry won the party caucuses last week.
Lieberman, the most conservative of the Democratic candidates, has said all week that he is a mainstream Democrat with the best chance of defeating President Bush in November.
Lieberman was named by former Vice President Al Gore in 2000 as his vice presidential running mate on the unsuccessful Democratic ticket.