Updated Mar 27, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Joe Lieberman, former senator and VP nominee, dies at age 82

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, wearing a black suit, light blue shirt and red tie.

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

Former U.S. Senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, who helped lead the centrist group No Labels in his later years, has died at age 82.

What they're saying: Lieberman died Wednesday afternoon "due to complications from a fall," his family said in a statement.

  • "His beloved wife, Hadassah, and members of his family were with him as he passed. Senator Lieberman's love of God, his family, and America endured throughout his life of service in the public interest," the statement said.

The backdrop: A former Connecticut state legislator and state attorney general, Lieberman was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988 after unseating Republican incumbent Lowell Weicker.

  • A prominent centrist in Congress, Lieberman was critical of former President Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
  • 2000 Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore tapped Lieberman as his running mate, making him the first Jewish candidate on a major party presidential ticket.
  • Lieberman mounted his own unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004 and was defeated in the Democratic primary for his Senate seat in 2006, but he made a stunning comeback by winning the general election as an independent. He retired in 2012.

Zoom out: Lieberman's career was marked by an independent streak, which culminated in him breaking with Democrats and endorsing Republican John McCain, his close friend in the Senate, in the 2008 presidential election.

  • More recently, he co-chaired No Labels as it attempted to field candidates to challenge President Biden and former President Trump on a third-party ticket.
  • "Connecticut is shocked by Senator Lieberman's sudden passing. In an era of political carbon copies, Joe Lieberman was a singularity. One of one," said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who holds Lieberman's former seat.

Editor's note: This article was corrected to remove a reference to the New Democrat Coalition, which Sen. Lieberman neither founded nor was affiliated with.

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