(CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut, is planning to announce Wednesday that he will not seek re-election, according to two knowledgeable Democratic sources.
The move by the former Democratic vice presidential candidate could add even more murkiness to the party's hopes of hanging on to its slim majority in the Senate in the 2012 election, especially coming on the heels of Sen. Kent Conrad's, D-North Dakota, that he will not seek re-election at the end of this term.
North Dakota's other Senate seat fell into Republican hands in the midterm election after Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan announced his retirement. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, Democrat-North Dakota, meanwhile, lost the state's only at-large House seat in November, so Conrad's seat will be in major jeopardy.
While Lieberman is an independent he has aligned himself with the Democratic leadership for organizational purposes, helping to boost the Democratic majority on issues like health reform. But he has also frustrated party leaders on other big issues, leading one Democratic source to say privately that it's a "sigh of relief" for Democrats if Lieberman does step aside because the party would have a chance to elect someone who sides with them more often.
The race for his seat is wide open. Earlier on Tuesday former Connecticut secretary of state Susan Bysiewicz announced that she is planning to get into the 2012 Democratic primary for Lieberman's seat regardless of what the incumbent does. Reps. Chris Murphy and Joe Courtney are also considering Senate bids, while various Republicans are mulling their options.
A Lieberman aide stressed that the Senator made his own decision some time ago and it was not influenced by Bysiewicz's announcement Tuesday or any other maneuvering.
Lieberman, whose poll numbers have dipped mightily in Connecticut, is scheduled to officially announce his decision on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET at the Marriott Hotel in Stamford, Conn.
"After many thoughtful conversations with family and friends over the last several months, Sen. Lieberman made a decision about his future over the holidays which he plans to announce on Wednesday," said Lieberman spokeswoman Erika Masonhall.
Lieberman won a fourth term in 2006 as an independent after losing the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont. After his re-election he still caucused with Democrats in the Senate, helping to boost their majority.
–CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report.
Holy jump'in bobcats, there is a monster slush fund party in the works.
crap....Sorry to see one of the few rational people in the Senate leave. Lieberman always impressed me with his honesty and being willing to swim against the tide in order to do what was right. He did not pander to party politics even when he was a registered Democratic. He voted with his convictions and stood up for the "little guy" I admire him more than any other politician in office to include Obama.
I don't think the election is seeking Lieberman either, so it should be a peaceful split.
Joe Lieberman will run for president.
good – one less Israel-firster in office....
RE: Lieberman not running: Good! He should switch parties as well. Democrat in name only.
Yay! The flip flopper if finally OUT!
Now he can go get a million dollar paycheck to work as a lobbyist for one of those insurance companies he fought for so boldly.
Oh thank God. I hate Lieberman. Always have .. always will. He's a prick Jew who cost Gore the election and as a result, the bigger prick was elected president and drove this country to sh*itville. I hope we never hear from him.
Great news! Now we can get a Democrat in there and never see Droopy Dog again!
I hope his BFF, John McCain, joins him by announcing his retirement.
Hard to believe that Gore chose him as VP for the 2000 election. Good riddance. You once said you favored medicare for all or for people over 50, then you opposed it. Make up your mind already.
Yeah! If only he would have made this decision before the last election cycle there would be a real representative for the largely dem Ct voters
Well, I guess his pocketbooks are so full he cannot latch them so he's out of here.
I'm a Connecticut resident and am saying: "Good Riddance"!
We are losing one of tne few good guys.
As usual, the utterly insipid inside-the-beltway political reporter class strikes again. Mr. Henry's assertion that the race to replace Lieberman is "wide open" is utterly specious. It's just more grist to crank up the controversy mill.
Good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out. One less republican in the Senate. The only good thing I have to say about the guy is that he understands that climate change is real – otherwise, I complete republican. I hope New Hampshire can do better than this jerk.
I hope he is planning a run for president. Sad to see him go though, he is one of the few sane voices in the party.
Awe. That's horrible! I was going to actively campaign to make SURE he would not get elected for his sinking of the public option and pushing his insurance lobbyist agenda.
Joltin joe has left and gone away ...paul simon
obama running them all off, they know this man is bringing america to her knees, what a so call pres.
Thank god! I'm glad he was so successful with killing healthcare reform.
Drat! Lieberman is the only Senator I actually liked.
Head war hawk to attack Iraq on knowingly contrived information,recently attempting same bombing attack plans for Iran ,Chief promoter for AIPAC ,we know where thats coming from. Senator probably meant well ,for things which haven't ended well ,at all.
Now, that is one hell of a breaking news!! I am stunned beyond belief!!!