Joe Lieberman, first Jewish candidate to seek US vice presidency, dies

Washington DC - Joe Lieberman, who made history as the first Jewish vice presidential candidate for a major US party and lately returned to the spotlight as a leader of a push for a third candidate in the 2024 election, reportedly died Wednesday.

Joe Lieberman, who made history as the first Jewish vice presidential candidate for a major US party and lately returned to the spotlight as a leader of a push for a third candidate in the 2024 election, reportedly died Wednesday.
Joe Lieberman, who made history as the first Jewish vice presidential candidate for a major US party and lately returned to the spotlight as a leader of a push for a third candidate in the 2024 election, reportedly died Wednesday.  © OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP

Lieberman died in New York City at the age of 82 "due to complications from a fall," his family said in a statement.

Lieberman, a longtime senator from Connecticut, was most famous for his role at the heart of one of the most tense US elections in history, when he ran for vice president in Democrat Al Gore's 2000 bid.

Gore lost amid dramatic scenes to then Texas governor George W. Bush, with the decision coming down to a disputed vote count in Florida and a Supreme Court ruling ultimately giving Bush the electoral college majority.

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Lieberman was the first Jew to be chosen for one of the country's major party tickets.

He was famous for his independent streak in sharply divided Washington politics.

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US Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore (l.) and his running mate Senator Joe Lieberman (r.) wave to the crowd during a Democratic National Committee Convention countdown rally on August 12, 2000.
US Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore (l.) and his running mate Senator Joe Lieberman (r.) wave to the crowd during a Democratic National Committee Convention countdown rally on August 12, 2000.  © LUKE FRAZZA / AFP

He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 but was then considered seriously by Republican candidate John McCain as a running mate when he mounted his own failed bid for the presidency in the 2008 race won by Barack Obama.

A national security hawk, Lieberman broke with many in his Democratic party over support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, while also ardently supporting liberal social views – including on gun rights and abortion.

In 2006, Lieberman lost the Democratic primary to get reelected to the Senate. However, he still won the contest that year, keeping his seat, by running as an independent.

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In 2023, Lieberman returned to high-level politics as one of the most visible faces of No Labels, which says it wants to give Americans a feasible third choice in presidential elections.

President Joe Biden's supporters have repeatedly warned that the organization could eat into the Democrat's base, thereby risking handing what is expected to be a tight election this November to Donald Trump.

Cover photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP

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