A Republican Headache for Lieberman?

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No one is happier about Alan Schlesinger, the hapless Republican candidate in the three-way race for Joe Lieberman’s seat in Connecticut, than Joe Lieberman.

The incumbent senator, after all, is counting on the support of Republicans as well as independents and moderate Democrats to beat Ned Lamont in the general election. And having credible Republican in the race — which Schlesinger, forgive us for saying, is not — could siphon a serious number of votes from Lieberman’s “independent Democrat” candidacy.

So… remember Jack Orchulli?

He’s the well-connected multi-millionaire and former partner of the fashion designer Michael Kors who ran and lost against Chris Dodd in the 2004 Senate race. Orchulli did manage to draw a third of the vote in that Senate campaign two years ago — a handy number to keep in mind in a three-way race– and has the ability to raise a lot of money very quickly.

Orchulli told us late yesterday that he’s already been approached by state Republicans about replacing the hapless Alan Schlesinger as the G.O.P. nominee in the Connecticut Senate Race — and that he’d “make himself available” to do it.

“Should the party decide that they want me, and should Mr. Schlesinger decide that he wants to step aside, I would make myself available to them,” said Mr.Orchulli. “If I was in it, it would undercut the perception that Mr. Lieberman has the Republicans, and it would change the dynamic of this whole race.”

And though the Times wrote after the election that Republicans hadn’t much idea about a credible alternative candidate, Orchulli, at least, sees it differently.

“The funds would be there,” he said. “There is personal money, and people have expressed interest in raising money.”

So can Orchulli possible be the guy? Or does all the praise of Lieberman by the Republican leadership, including Karl Rove, suggest that they have something else in mind?

–Jason Horowitz