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It's party time (finally) for Joe

From MSNBC's Chris Jansing
It's nearly one in the morning, and there's a big party going on in the hallway outside of my hotel room. It's been four hours since Joe Lieberman was declared the winner in the Connecticut Senate race, more than three since he gave his acceptance speech.

But after a truly brutal and exhausting campaign, it's time for his supporters to have a victory celebration, and I'm guessing it isn't going to end anytime soon. Beer appears to be the beverage of choice - fueling sporadic chants of "Joe Joe Joe". 

There were also some union members lingering in the ballroom downstairs, and a group a young volunteers were near the hotel lobby, singing a sort of Joe Lieberman fight song to no tune I could recognize (but it was lively). There's also a bit of an air of amazement surrounding it all, as if  they can't quite believe they've really pulled this off.

What a remarkable change of fortunes for Lieberman and his supporters. After his stunning primary loss to newcomer Ned Lamont in August, a lot of people gave him up for politically dead and urged him not to run as an independent. A lot of people, in fact, thought he was making decisions with his ego.

Ned Lamont was an instant star - a poster boy for the growing anti-war sentiment sweeping the country, and he had a personal fortune he was willing to use to finance the campaign. He did spend $16 million or more - but analysts say, not very wisely. And Lieberman's message of bi-partisanship played well with the state's biggest block of voters - independents. He also won overwhelming Republican support. In spite of rampant speculation the Republicans will make him an offer he can't refuse if he'll caucus with them, he says he's sticking with the Democrats. (He also said tonight he goes back to Washington beholden to no political group).

Lieberman got a big laugh at the beginning of his victory speech tonight when he said, "I'm Joe Lieberman, and I approve of this election."  There's a whole LOT of approval going on right now in the hallway outside of my hotel room.