July 21st, 2010
06:09 PM ET
4 years ago

Intrigue in Connecticut Senate battle

(CNN) - Is Rob Simmons jumping back into the GOP Senate nomination battle in Connecticut?

It sure looks like it.

The former three-term Republican congressman announced Wednesday he'll run a television commercial asking Connecticut voters to look at the issues when making their decision in the state's August 10 primary.

Former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon captured the Senate nomination endorsement of Connecticut Republican delegates at the state's GOP convention in May, with Simmons finishing second in the voting and businessman Peter Schiff in third. Soon after the vote, Simmons suspended his campaign and released most of his staff, but he did remain on the primary ballot, which he reminds voters of in his new ad.

"In the Republican primary on August tenth, you do have a choice. I'm Rob Simmons, I'm still on the ballot, and I approved this message."

In a press release, Simmons says the ads are in the nature of a public service announcement. But he also states that "for the past two months, I have been traveling the state supporting my fellow Republican candidates."

"Everywhere I go people ask me if I am still running for the U.S. Senate. My response has been 'I'm still on the ballot'," adds Simmons.

His move follows weeks of speculation that he may re-enter the race, including an interview he gave with the Hartford Courant, where he said "I'm trying to think about what's right, what's honest and what's decent."

The McMahon campaign Wednesday quickly criticized the Simmons announcement on new running new ads.

"For eight months, Rob Simmons promised Connecticut Republicans that he would not primary if he lost the convention. He lost the convention, then immediately announced he would primary. Hours later, he dismissed his staff and announced he wouldn't primary," says McMahon campaign spokesman Ed Patru, in a statement.

"Should he decide to officially un-curtail his campaign, we're prepared for that, as we have been since September 2009. Until that happens, following Rob Simmons' on-again, off-again campaign is a little like trying to keep up with an Abbott and Costello routine… Who's on first?"

The ad by Simmons, who won two bronze stars while serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, appears to add intrigue into what was expected to be primary with little excitement. But some in the GOP are not too concerned.

"Republicans took Rob Simmons at his word when he said he wouldn't primary if he lost the convention. So this announcement is odd, but the reality is that his campaign is shut down for all intents and purposes, and everyone is working to make sure Linda McMahon is the next Senator from Connecticut," a Republican source tells CNN.

The primary winner will face off in November against longtime Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the presumptive Democratic nominee. The general election winner will succeed five-term Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, who announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • Connecticut
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Ed FL

    The saddest problem with Connecticut is that they still have the most despised politician in the Senate . That is LIE berman this guy cannot be trusted as far as you can throw a trailer truck . He will sell his soul to anybody for anything just to get his name and piocture up front. Connecticut is usally a very competent state with great people ,Do not know how you folks ever let this selfish jerk snooker you. You have a reputation of better sense than that.

    July 21, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. George of the jungle

    flip flop flip flop flip flop. You vote for him you deserve him.

    July 21, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. BeverlyNC

    Just proves you can never trust a Republican. They never tell the truth. They never keep their word. They are all arrogant power seekers who don't care who they slander to get what they want.

    They are dangerous to America and should be all rejected for office in November. They will NEVER serve the People but bow at the altar of the large corporations. Republicans hate American workers and the middle class. Democrats stand up and deliver for the People. We need more Democrats in Congress to help America recover faster.

    Be careful with your vote or you will find yourself right back reliving the Bush years.

    July 21, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Paul G. Littlefield

    Linda2010 Chairman, Ed Patru, said "Simmons promised for eight months to Connecticut Republicans that he would not primary if he lost the convention." That was when Simmons was sure the nomination was in the bag. In other words, an empty promise has morphed into an empty suit. Simmons has been bobbing and weaving but can't focus and doesn't know whether or not he is a candidate.

    Simmons has a rich fantasy life, dreaming of going back to Washington as an upgrade. He's been gaga, missing the social parties given by the democrat mesdames. When in Congress he voted the democrat party line inorder to be first in the nightime party line, swizzeling martinis.

    Simmons couldn't hang onto a congressional seat in a small bucolic Eastern Connecticut district. How could he hope to compete statewide and hold his own in sophisticated Lower Fairfield County.

    July 21, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |