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Sen. Weicker, GOP Liberal, to Seek 4th Term

February 04, 1988|Associated Press

FARMINGTON, Conn. — Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., a liberal Republican at odds with his party and President Reagan more often than not, announced his candidacy for a fourth term today and predicted the biggest victory of his career.

Weicker, 56, a Greenwich millionaire, told his audience at the University of Connecticut Medical Center: "My special role has been to try and give voice and strength to those on the outside. At some point or another during my career that has meant just about everybody and everything."

The state's senior senator is constantly battling with his party in Connecticut and Washington. His difficulties with the GOP began when he was assigned to the Senate Watergate Committee in 1974 and continue today with his frequent criticism of Reagan.

Weicker has styled himself as a champion of the Constitution and has made a name for himself fighting for the rights of the handicapped and minorities.

Sees 'Biggest Victory'

He is expected to face Democrat Joseph I. Lieberman, now the attorney general, in November.

Both candidates say they expect to spend about $3 million on the campaign. Weicker has raised about $1.1 million so far, to Lieberman's $369,000.

In a recent interview at his home, Weicker said that if the liberal Lieberman is his opponent, "I think this will be the biggest victory of my career."

Weicker's moderate-to-liberal Republican politics have served him well in a state where Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats and unaffiliated voters.

In 1982, Weicker won with just 50.4% of the vote. In 1976, he had 57.7% of the vote. And in 1970, he won a three-way race with 41.7%.

In 1982, Weicker had a strong challenge for the nomination from Prescott S. Bush Jr., brother of the vice president. Bush qualified for a primary against Weicker but later withdrew.

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