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Senate Democrats may have done a dirty incumbency-protection deal to support Joe Lieberman and his constant efforts to trash the Democratic Party, but Ned Lamont is well on his way to making state history and forcing a primary:

Regardless of whether U.S. Senate candidate Edward "Ned" Lamont attracts significant delegate support this weekend, the Greenwich cable executive could become the first in state history to force a statewide primary in a new way.

Lamont’s campaign manager, Thomas Swan, said the organization already has secured more than half the 13,061 signatures from Connecticut Democrats it needs to force an Aug. 8 showdown with U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman under the direct primary statute.

Connecticut always has allowed candidates to petition onto the November ballot if they represent minor parties or are running without affiliation.
Major party candidates gained a spot on the ballot by winning a delegate convention. Those who lost the convention but secured at least 15 percent of the delegates have the option of forcing a primary.

But in 2004, the General Assembly enacted a statute allowing Democrats and Republicans to force primaries for state or federal offices – including statewide races – by securing enough signatures from party members.

For the last two weeks, more than 500 Lamont campaign volunteers statewide have been going door to door, Swan said.

"It’s an extremely time-consuming effort," he said, adding that "a significant portion of our campaign’s first three months of existence was spent building their field army."

The mark the Lamont campaign is hoping to reach represents 2 percent of all Democrats statewide. Those signatures must be secured by June 5, two weeks after the Democratic State Convention ends on Saturday.

Ned’s got new campaign commercials on the air that you can see here.  If you’re a Connecticutian with a gift for collecting signatures you can volunteer here, or you can donate here.

Ned also got Lowell Weicker’s endorsement this morning.  I find it oddly appropriate that the "White Knight of Watergate" is coming out in support of Ned and willing to go to great lengths to get Lieberman off the stage right now even as the Senate Democrats roll over.  That’s the incumbency protection racket in action, I suppose.