Seniority

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The Hill has what has to be one of the most transparent stories of this campaign season. It claims Joe Lieberman has been assured of seiority if he wins in November. But what it is really about is Frank Lautenberg's attempt to gain back his former seniority:

 Sen. Joe Lieberman, the longtime Democratic senator from Connecticut running for re-election as an independent, says the party leadership has assured him he would keep his seniority if he returns to Congress.

Local Democrats are responding with irritation, political opponents voice disbelief, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) denies making a decision. 

But the strongest response is likely to come from Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) who views Lieberman’s independent status as an opportunity to press Democratic leaders to restore seniority he lost four years ago.

If Lautenberg retrieves seniority accrued during 18 years of Senate service before retiring in 2000, he could leapfrog Lieberman to lead the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee or the Environment and Public Works Committee.

Lieberman has served 18 years in the upper chamber. Lautenberg has served a total of 22 years, but he has only four years of recognized seniority because he retired from Congress for two years in 2000.

While even Lautenberg’s allies admit the chances of jumping over as many as five lawmakers on either committee are small, the senator thinks he has a strong case.

Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, does not want to wrestle with these questions in public before the Nov. 7 election.

“The caucus won’t make any decisions until after the elections in November,” said Reid’s spokesman, Jim Manley.

It goes on from there, but it really is all about Lautenberg. Lord, what an election.

It goes on from there, but it really is all about Lautenberg. Lord, what an election.

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