May 25th, 2010
10:55 AM ET
5 years ago

Simmons stops bid for Senate in Connecticut

Connecticut Republican Rob Simmons cited the wealth of rival Linda McMahon, pictured here with husband Vince McMahon, as one reason for halting his Senate campaign.
Connecticut Republican Rob Simmons cited the wealth of rival Linda McMahon, pictured here with husband Vince McMahon, as one reason for halting his Senate campaign.

(CNN) - Former Rep. Rob Simmons is halting his campaign for the Senate.

While his name will remain on the primary ballot, the Connecticut Republican said at a news conference Tuesday that "we have decided, reluctantly and prayerfully, to scale back the campaign. We will release staff to pursue other opportunities and curtail campaign activities. This is not an easy decision or a happy decision."

Former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon captured the Connecticut GOP's Senate nomination endorsement, edging out Simmons at the party convention Friday night. At the time Simmons said he would challenge McMahon in the state's August 10 primary. Businessman Peter Schiff, another GOP candidate, failed to capture enough votes at the convention to qualify for the primary, but indicated he might launch a petition effort to get his name on the August primary ballot.

McMahon has spent millions of dollars of her own money on her campaign, which Simmons said Tuesday was a factor in his decision.

"We understand the mathematical reality of competing against an opponent with unlimited financial resources who has already invested over 16 and a half million dollars in this campaign – by far more than any senate candidate in the country – and who has an unlimited ability to continue spending at an extraordinary rate," said Simmons, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.

As for what's next, Simmons said "while my name will remain on the primary ballot, in the coming months I will devote myself to helping other Republican candidates for public office."

With Simmons ending his active bid for the GOP Senate nomination, McMahon will most likely face off this November against Democratic Senate nominee and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is apologizing for misstating his military record during the Vietnam War.

"I have made mistakes and I am sorry. I truly regret offending anyone," Blumenthal said in a statement sent to the Hartford Courant Sunday night. "I will always champion the cause of Connecticut's and our nation's veterans."

Blumenthal's comments come one week after the New York Times reported that he distorted his military service record. The article alleges that Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam and says that he never served in that war, even though the candidate has claimed he did in speeches before veterans groups and military families.

Blumenthal acknowledged last Tuesday that he has not always accurately described his military service during the Vietnam War. Blumenthal served in the Marine Corps Reserves during the Vietnam War, and was stationed stateside. He says he mistakenly said he served "in" Vietnam rather than "during" Vietnam in his previous speeches.

The absence of a strong apology in his remarks last Tuesday fueled criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats.

In the statement to the Courant, Connecticut's largest daily newspaper, Blumenthal said that "at times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves."

Simmons did serve in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, winning two bronze stars. He served as a Connecticut state lawmaker before winning election to the House in 2000. Simmons served three terms before losing a re-election bid in 2006.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • Connecticut • Popular Posts
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Big-Dave

    Great news!!

    Linda McMahon is almost tied with the liar Blumenthal and has the resources to beat him in the general. Blummy thinks it's bad now, wait till the attack ads start tearing him to shreds and highlight how he "Misspoke" (lied) about his follies in vietnam.

    May 25, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Perhaps he should have challeneged Linda McMahon to a 2 out of 3 falls, no disqualification, cage match?

    Connecticut, you can't be that stupid!!!

    May 25, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. mike

    first we get the chicken lady now we got the wrestling lady this is
    great to uneducated people along with another hopeful randy paul
    maybe will get some eggs out of this mess and then they can
    wrestle for them or maybe we will get free eye glasses

    May 25, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  4. Hows that oil slick coming along Rush?

    The Republican Brand is just like Richard Nixon,"buried".

    May 25, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. No Incumbents 2010

    Simmons realized what many of us knew all along: that once real voters get to engage, a career politician like himself has no chance against businessman Peter Schiff. While the establishment has annointed Linda McWrestler, the voters will choose a real businessman who predicted the 2008-09 recession and who has a plan for a strong economy. Linda McJoke is trying to buy the Senate seat.

    May 25, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. Independent_me

    I smell a rat here.

    Despite the "prayerful" decision to quit... I predict there is a scandal that was threatening his run... a woman? homosexual involvement? Egregious lies??

    Who knows...but I guarantee it... there is a scandal involved...

    May 25, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. jackson

    This is one of the reasons we need campaign reform. It should never come down to who can spend the most money, ever. There should be a limit on how much any candidate can spend, period. The playing field has to be level to give any interested candidate a fair chance at getting elected.

    The amount of money spend on elections in this country is appalling.

    May 25, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but

    If there are no poor people in congress, do we have a truly representative government? Have a nice day!

    May 25, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. The Clear Thinking Independent

    Isn't he the more qualified of the two GOP candidates?

    a.) A former member of Congress so he knows his way around the hill,
    b.) A former true "in-country" Vietnam vet, and
    c.) A person previously elected by citizens in Connecticut

    Why is he being steered out of the race in favor of a woman that has been in bed with the shady World Wrestling Entertainment business. Does CT want a running joke made of it's Senator?

    May 25, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Marie MD

    Can these people do anything just because? Why is God and prayer everything that means nothing to them after their affairs or lack of morals are found out later?
    What is he hiding now?

    May 25, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. LouAz

    Good that the Flat earth Repubs can nominate asomeone who really understands Entertainment, fake wrestling promoter McMahon. What a political force.

    May 25, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. SayWhat

    I still think that he should challenge McMahon to a steel cage match to decide the nomination. Give the people what they want.

    May 25, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Voice of Reason

    Right. A professional Wrestling executive!? The whole industry is fake. This makes total sense. Someone with REAL experience deceiving the public, not the rank amateurs we have in Congress today.

    Also cant wait for the campaign speeches:
    Get a bug-eyed, wild look on your face, and yell: "All I Gotta Say is You better Watch out Congress!!! Cause I'm Comin Fer YOU!!" (Shred your shirt and snarl at the camera).

    May 25, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Oh that's just great. The Republicans are really pulling all their heavy hitters now. Wife of the Pro-Wrestling league owner...porn stars...movie star billionaires, fired CEO's of companies that spy on its own executives...what's next?

    May 25, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Dano

    You just know when your best candidate is former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon that your party has fallen pretty low.

    May 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |