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Tags: Rob Simmons

Rob Simmons Is Kinda Sorta Almost Running Again



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Boy, it’s “strange commercial” day for Republicans in Connecticut. I’ve expressed admiration for Rob Simmons in the past, and will probably come out of this primary still thinking highly of him, but there are a couple of oddities in his latest message.

1. This ad is titled and described in campaign materials as a “PSA.” Sir, if it looks like a commercial, sounds like a commercial, conveys a candidate’s message like a commercial, and quacks like a commercial, it’s a commercial.

2. “I’m Rob Simmons, I’m still on the ballot, and I approved this message.” So are you running? Are you pursuing the office, or are you just hoping it falls in your lap because Republicans have doubts about Linda McMahon? If you want it, show it. This isn’t an appointed office. It’s as if Simmons has one leg in the race and one leg out. This is the hokey-pokey candidacy.

3. I used to have the habit of talking with my hands, so I shouldn’t throw stones, but Simmons uses so many hand gestures it looks like he’s doing his own sign language for the hearing-impaired.

Tags: Linda McMahon , Rob Simmons

Hey, That Dormant Campaign Just Moved!



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For a dormant campaign, Rob Simmons’s effort is strangely active, with a television ad

Rob Simmons, who halted his campaign for the Republican Senate nomination after losing the party endorsement to former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, will begin airing TV ads urging voters to “look at the issues” before voting in the Aug. 10 primary.

In a press release on Wednesday, Simmons said he would spend some of his remaining campaign funds on the TV spots.

“For the past two months, I have been travelling the state supporting my fellow Republican candidates,” Simmons said. “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.’”

. . . Here’s the script of the Simmons ad:

“Today, it’s important to vote with your heart and your head. Bailouts and tax increases have crippled the economy and cost us jobs. Small business is our backbone. Let’s help them. National security must remain strong. Put your trust in the candidate who is and will be an advocate for veterans. These issues will have a lasting effect on our children. 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.”

This feels like the scene about 20 minutes into the horror movie, where somebody inevitably says, “Guys, I’m telling you, there was a dead body lying right here just a few minutes ago!”

Tags: Rob Simmons

Good News: Blumenthal’s Lead Is Cut in Half! And Now, the Bad News . . .



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Hmmm. In Connecticut, Rasmussen finds the Democratic state attorney general who kept saying he served in Vietnam is only up by 13 percentage points over Linda McMahon, professional-wrestling mogul. A month ago, Rasmussen had Democrat Dick Blumenthal ahead of McMahon by 26 percentage points.

Having said that, Blumenthal is above 50 percent against all three possible GOP rivals: McMahon, investor Peter Schiff, and former congressman Rob Simmons, who suspended his campaign but keeps making noises suggesting he may change his mind. But it’s not that unthinkable that this race, with two flawed candidates, could end up looking a lot more competitive by fall . . .

Tags: Linda McMahon , Peter Schiff , Richard Blumenthal , Rob Simmons

Is Rob Simmons Coming Back or Just Teasing?



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There’s a fine line between keeping your options open and being a big tease, and/or indecisive, and once (and future?) Senate candidate Rob Simmons is getting right up to that line:

The former CIA operative and member of the House of Representatives tells me it’s looking more and more like he will revive his dormant campaign for Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

I like Rob Simmons a great deal, and a multi-month campaign hibernation would be one of the more creative and original tactical maneuvers in modern politics. Having said that, you can’t be the Schrödinger’s candidate, simultaneously running and not running. Either you’re in the race or you aren’t. Come on.

UPDATE: A couple readers complain, with some justification, that I don’t list where Simmons is running; sometimes I just presume readers have been reading the site and following these races all along. Rob Simmons is a former congressman from Connecticut, generally moderate on social issues and generally conservative on economic and foreign policy, who was leading Chris Dodd in the Senate race. Then Linda McMahon, wife, wealthy executive who built her fortune through running professional wrestling, jumping into the race and started spending money by the boatload. Simmons concluded he couldn’t keep pace and suspended, but did not formally, end his campaign. His name remains on the ballot, but he does no formal campaigning…

Tags: Rob Simmons

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Rob Simmons Surges



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In Connecticut, Republican Rob Simmons stopped actively campaigning for the Senate seat, and essentially conceded the race to Linda McMahon.

And then he really surged in momentum:

He’s picked up 6 points in a new poll. Ann Coulter is openly pining for him. To get this attention, all Rob Simmons had to do to was quit campaigning for the U.S. Senate.

“This is marvelous,” Simmons said Thursday night. “Maybe if I took a long trip to China, I might move out front. I think there is a lot to say about not bothering the voters.”

Simmons said he is enjoying the attention that escaped him while he was an active candidate, but not so much that he is tempted to reactivate his campaign for the Republican nomination.

“I’ve had numerous people call, not just today or yesterday, but over the last week. I am flattered,” Simmons said. “But my position remains the same. Yes, I am on the ballot. No, I am not actively campaigning.”

Hey, Alvin Greene used this approach and got 60 percent. The election isn’t until August 10. At this pace, he can make it; the question is whether his campaign can sustain enough lack of effort.

Tags: Linda McMahon , Rob Simmons

Arguments For, and Against, Linda McMahon



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As I’ve made clear below, I’m not enamored with WWE or the idea of Linda McMahon as the Republican standard-bearer in Connecticut. But for fairness’s sake, here are some takes on her campaign from readers in Connecticut, some positive, some negative.

First, the case for McMahon (and against Simmons):

I am a great fan of your work especially “Morning Jolt” which I subscribe to and enjoy reading everyday. Because I’m familiar with your work I’m surprised by your affinity for Rob Simmons. I am a life-long Connecticut Republican of the Reaganite variety. While Mr. Simmons’ Vietnam service and military record are exemplary and praise-worthy, his tenure in Connecticut politics has shown him to be a RINO of the first order. He worked for “Republican” Senator John Chaffee of Rhode Island and has often cited him as his mentor and model. Following this Chaffee model, he has always been pro-choice and socially liberal. His liberalism was recently exemplified by this Hartford Courant opinion piece which reveals his love letter to Jimmy Carter:

I would postulate that anyone who calls Jimmy Carter “the best” is unfit for high office and certainly unfit to be the standard bearer for the Republican party in Connecticut. Now I am no fan of the WWE and I frankly don’t know how it will play politically, but Ms. McMahon is a politcal outsider in an year that is shaping up as a good year for outsiders, she will self-finance to the tune of $50 million in a state where Republicans traditionally run grossly underfunded campaigns, and she has already shown a willingness to mix it up with Mr. Blumenthal as exhibited by her exposure of his Vietnam lies. Trust me when I tell you that a Republican’s willingness to take the fight to the Democrat is a refreshing change here in Connecticut where all too often Republican candidates (Mr. Simmons included) are all to willing to present themselves as a milder echo rather than a choice. So while I respect your opinion and analysis, I respectfully disagree with your thoughts aout Mr. Simmons. I would rather take my chances with Ms. McMahon than elect another Chaffee, Collins, Snowe or Specter.

I knew that Simmons was not a down-the-line conservative, but he was solid, straightforward, and, I thought, capable of winning in a pretty Democratic state.

Another salutes McMahon’s entrepreneurship:

A few points.  I 100% agree that Rob Simmons has a great resume, but he got beat fair and square by McMahon.  He lost a house seat he shouldn’t have, and frankly hasn’t been a very impressive candidate this time around.You’re underestimating McMahon. I know it’s easy to talk-down WWE, but they’re a billion-dollar corporation with over 500 employees in CT (not including wrestlers, who are all technically independent contractors).  Linda has been engaged in Connecticut civics, and WWE has registered millions of new voters over the last 10 years at their live shows.

A candidate who turns a carnival side-show into a major global corporation deserves consideration.  Was she ‘on-screen’ from time to time?  Yes. But she was mainly the CEO of the company.  You going to blame the CEO of Coca-Cola if he runs for senate because he has money, and his product causes obesity? Judge McMahon’s candidacy on it’s merits, and then factor in she can spend $50 Million to win a seat we have no chance of winning otherwise.

But here’s a skeptic:

A sizable minority of my co-workers live in Connecticut and as of two weeks ago, to a man, they would all be voting for the GOP in the fall. A few of them are going to vote libertarian now, but as of now not a single one is planning of voting for McMahon and most people feel obligated to vote for Blumenthal. To be honest i think that’s right, and he’s terrible. The seat was a reach anyway, but we could have forced them to spend some money up there. Heartbreaking, one step forward two steps back.

Tags: Linda McMahon , Rob Simmons

The Simmering Frustration of Simmons



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From this morning’s Jolt:

He Was Rob-bed

Rob Simmons — the guy I would have preferred to see be the next senator from Connecticut — tells NRO that Linda McMahon can’t win. Apparently Simmons had second thoughts about his comments, and told Politico that he regretted saying what he said, and that it was “harsh.” He also complains about how it was characterized, and Rob Costa politely tells him that when you give straightforward answers to straightforward questions, you’re going to get quoted straightforwardly.

The exchange prompts a commenter at the lefty Swing State Project to ask, “Does Simmons have any campaign debt?  If he does, I want to contribute. We should seriously be rewarding Republicans who speak out like this. Besides the electoral benefits this kind of story gives us, it’s also wonderful to see that some Republicans still have a little bit of humanity and decency.” Another commenter responds, “No, the pre-convention filing (5/1) said he still had $1 million on hand and only a couple thousand dollars in debt.”

Can anybody really begrudge Rob Simmons a bitter word or two? He’s the only guy in the primary who has actually been in office before, has a sterling resume, is an actual Vietnam veteran with two bronze stars, and the Connecticut Republican party convention prefers McMahon.

There’s probably a WWE fan or two in the readership of this e-mail, so they may prefer to skip this paragraph. But for all the grief that conservatives give Hollywood, professional wrestling has turned into a twisted parody of the entertainment industry’s worst traits.  If you wanted to assemble a perfect conglomeration of the types of entertainment that would make Tipper Gore, Michael Medved, Bill Bennett and Bill Cosby have night terrors, you would end up with professional wrestling:  There’s the simple storylines and acting that make the mannerisms on Mexican tele-novelas look subtle, the gloating and chest-thumping that makes most gangster rappers look humble; the crude sexualization of women; the attire one step removed from pornography, and, of course, the fact that it’s now not a sport or contest of strength but about hitting each other over the head with folding chairs and such. Simmons notes their use of a mentally-handicapped character. (I can hear it now: “Go back to Masterpiece Theater, you inside-the-Beltway elitist!” I don’t fit most definitions of snob; the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles still makes me giggle.)

Sure, WWE is wildly popular; we’ll see if those fans vote. There are about 16 million reasons Linda McMahon is going to be the Republican nominee, and the hopes for the GOP in that state rest upon voters ignoring the product she created for the past 30 years and feeling more upset about Richard Blumenthal and Vietnam.

And this morning, Quinnipiac informs us: “Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal leads former wrestling executive Linda McMahon 56 – 31 percent in the U.S. Senate race and tops the Republican candidate by large margins on every character measure, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. “

Believe me, Rob Simmons, you don’t have to apologize for griping about McMahon.

Tags: Linda McMahon , Richard Blumenthal , Rob Simmons

Rob Simmons: I Can’t Keep Up With Linda McMahon’s Spending



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A strange development: Rob Simmons isn’t quite leaving the Connecticut Senate race . . . but he’s not going to campaign, either.

Speaking for myself and my family, however, 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.

On this basis 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. But we believe it is the right decision.

In my life of public service — in the U.S. Army, the CIA, the U.S. Senate Staff and, yes, even in elective politics — I have always tried to put the public good ahead of private gain. It is this sense of service above self, nurtured in my early days as a young soldier in Vietnam, has been my motivating force for the past 40 years. That is what motivates me to make this decision now.

As a party endorsed candidate in ten races under the Connecticut Republican banner, and a winner of eight, I can never fully thank the many good people who have supported me over the years. They include members of my own party as well as Independents and Democrats, all of whom have come together across party lines with a sense of working for the common good of the people we serve.  I can never repay my family and friends, near and far, who have been with me under the most trying circumstances, and who have shared in the thrilling victories and the agonizing defeats.

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 who I believe will bring to Connecticut and the Nation the leadership we need at this most difficult time.

Tags: Linda McMahon , Rob Simmons

Rob Simmons, Reportedly Calling It a Campaign



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Breaking: “A Republican source says Rob Simmons told his staff Monday he will end his campaign for U.S. Senate at a press conference Tuesday morning in New London.”

Just got the e-mail from the Simmons camp:

MEDIA ADVISORY: SIMMONS TO MAKE ANNOUNCEMENT ON FUTURE OF SENATE CAMPAIGN (MYSTIC) -

Rob Simmons, candidate for US Senate, will make an announcement tomorrow, Tuesday May 25, at 9:00 am, on the future of the campaign: 

WHO: Rob Simmons

WHAT: Announcement on the future of the campaign for U.S. Senate

WHEN: 9:00 am, Tuesday, May 25, 2010

WHERE: Lobby  Radisson Hotel New London

While that doesn’t quite confirm it, if you’re calling a press conference about the future of your campaign, it means the future of your campaign is in doubt.

Dang. I liked the guy.

Peter Schiff is still in the running — he’ll have to take advantage of Connecticut’s open-primary law and petition his way onto the Aug. 10 primary ballot. Tonight, Linda McMahon appears near-certain to be the Republican nominee for Senate.

Tags: Linda McMahon , Peter Schiff , Rob Simmons

Despite Scandal, Richard Blumenthal Is in -- Er, Is “During” First Place



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Maybe I’m an idealist, but I still can’t believe Richard Blumenthal leads anybody:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Connecticut finds Blumenthal with just a three-point advantage over Linda McMahon, 48% to 45%. Two weeks ago, he led the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment by 13 percentage points. The New York Times story broke late Monday; the survey was taken Tuesday evening.

When matched against former GOP Congressman Rob Simmons, Blumenthal leads by 11 – 50% to 39%. Two weeks ago, the longtime state attorney general held a 23-point lead over Simmons.

Blumenthal now leads Peter Schiff, a high-profile Wall Street investment banker, 53% to 37%. In the previous survey, he posted a 54% to 29% lead over Schiff.

Still, just 26% of voters say Blumenthal should withdraw from the Senate race. Only nine percent (9%) of Democrats hold that view.

However, 53% of voters say “the issue of Blumenthal and his military service” will be at least somewhat important in terms of how they vote.

So against all of his opponents, Blumenthal, D-Con. Artist, is in during the lead.

Tags: Linda McMahon , Peter Schiff , Richard Blumenthal , Rob Simmons

Another Shoe to Drop With Blumenthal?



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With Richard Blumenthal attempting to argue that repeatedly “misstating” that he served in Vietnam is not a big deal, and every Democrat in the state apparently agreeing with him, the Connecticut Senate race is now a lot more interesting.

There are three major contenders on the Republican side: investor and financial analyst Peter Schiff, former Congressman Rob Simmons and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment Linda McMahon. A Republican Senate candidate involved in running the often violent and sexually-explicit entertainment that is professional wrestling initially seemed too outlandish to take seriously – witness this parody of her campaign commercial, mixing her soft-focus “why I’m running” ad with some of her, er, greatest hits in her appearances on WWE programming — but she’s brought almost unlimited financial resources to the race, and now, it is clear, the most ruthlessly effective opposition research since Patton read Rommel’s book. Polling has been sparse, but it appears McMahon leads.

The Connecticut Repulican state convention starts Friday, and there the party will formally endorse a candidate; the primary itself is on August 10. The expectation is that a poor performance at the convention could spur one of the three to drop out.

A Connecticut Republican strategist tells me we may not have heard the last shoe drop regarding Blumenthal and his record. “There are a lot of disparities between his statements and facts,” this strategist says. After the revelation that he claimed to have served in Vietnam and didn’t, what else could there be?

Tags: Linda McMahon , Peter Schiff , Richard Blumenthal , Rob Simmons

Will Richard Blumenthal Leave the Senate Race?



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The career of Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal appears to be on the verge of a spectacular immolation:

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

Rob Simmons, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, made the following statement today in reaction to tonight’s New York Times report on Richard Blumenthal’s service record: “As someone who served, I respect Richard Blumenthal for wearing the uniform, but I am deeply troubled by allegations that he has misrepresented his service. Too many have sacrificed too much to have their valor stolen in this way. I hope Mr. Blumenthal steps forward and forthrightly addresses the questions that have arisen about this matter.”

Brian Walsh, NRSC Communications Director, just offered this statement: “Mr. Blumenthal owes the people of Connecticut, and particularly its veterans, a thorough explanation for the very serious questions that have been raised over what appears to be a long history of dishonest statements.  If you can’t trust him to tell the truth about whether or not he served in Vietnam, you have wonder what exactly can you trust about Richard Blumenthal.”

Tags: Richard Blumenthal , Rob Simmons

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