Former GOP Rep. Rob Simmons has suspended his Senate campaign in Connecticut. Last week, Linda McMahon, Simmons’ opponent in the Republican primary, won the state party’s endorsement. As he bowed out earlier today, Simmons pledged to end his fundraising efforts and to allow his staff to leave the campaign, even though his name will still appear on the August primary ballot. “This is not an easy decision or a happy decision,” he says. “But we believe it is the right decision.” He said he would work for GOP candidates in coming months, but did not endorse McMahon at his press conference.
Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said, in a statement, that Simmons “has served our nation with honor, respect, and integrity, and I thank him for his Senate candidacy . . . [Simmons] is a valuable asset to the Republican Party, and I strongly hope that he will continue to stay involved in this process leading up to the November midterm elections.”
McMahon, a former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, faces Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s attorney general, in the general election. Last week, the New York Times reported that Blumenthal has made misleading statements about his military service during the Vietnam War. Simmons, a two-time Bronze Star winner in the conflict, was not able to capitalize on the scandal, winning only 46 percent of the vote at the state GOP convention.
After losing the party nod, Simmons said he would keep running. McMahon, a multimillionaire, promised to use her fortune against him should he challenge her in the run-up to the summer primary. Today, perhaps unsurprisingly, Simmons changed his mind, saying he understands the “mathematical reality” of such a fight. “It’s an unbelievable amount of dough,” Simmons lamented to a local radio station, that “has just twisted people into thinking that the money is going to buy the race. And so, what the heck, let’s shut it down and let’s move forward.”
The Associated Press reports that another Republican, financier Peter Schiff, will remain in the race against McMahon, though he will have to petition his way onto the primary ballot.
According to campaign finance data, Simmons raised $2.9 million during the primary battle. McMahon raised $16.6 million. For now, Rasmussen’s latest poll shows Blumenthal up by three points on McMahon, 48 percent to 45 percent. Another poll, released by Democratic pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research on Monday, shows Blumenthal with a 15-point lead, 55 percent to 40 percent.