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Simmons Equates Campaign Against McMahon’s Money to Pickett’s Charge

by Christine Stuart | May 25, 2010 9:37am
(7) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2010

(Updated) NEW LONDON—Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons was not ready Tuesday to endorse Linda McMahon when he announced he would effectively be ending his campaign and releasing his staff.

Photo gallery - Simmons news conference

The decorated Vietnam veteran, who just last fall was enjoying a double-digit lead in polls over U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, seemed uncharacteristically somber about his decision to end his campaign in a hotel lobby. After failing to garner his party’s endorsement at the convention, Simmons acknowledged his campaign was over, but refused to withdraw his name from the ballot line.

He said his decision was all about arithmetic.

“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…,” said Simmons. “On this basis we have decided, reluctantly and prayerfully, to scale back the campaign.”

“The only qualification that really counts is your ability to be elected,” Simmons conceded.

He equated his campaign against McMahon and her millions with the futility of Pickett’s Charge, a Civil War assault by the Confederacy on the Union about which he’d read over the weekend. Simmons said Picket’s Charge was a “foolish waste of people and resources with a tremendously demoralizing outcome. It changed the shape of the Civil War for the Confederacy.”

Simmons added, “Not that I would want the Confederacy to win. I simply have to observe and reflect on the situation as I see it.”

Asked why he wants to leave his name on the primary ballot, Simmons said “I don’t see it as a protest, I see it as honoring those who did support me under difficult circumstances and giving them a choice.”

With nothing but time on his hands, he said he would spend his time helping to elect fellow Republicans to federal and state offices, but he wouldn’t say whether those efforts would include support for McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO who received the party’s endorsement for U.S. Senate on May 21.

Christine Stuart photo

Rob Simmons

Simmons, who received the support of 46 percent of the delegates at the convention, said his fundraising efforts were harmed when he lost the party’s endorsement to McMahon.

“Rob’s decision today was difficult, but speaks to all of what he has dedicated his life to - service,” Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy said in an email. “Republicans will always appreciate what he has accomplished for our Party, state, and country and we will never forget his friendship and dedication to the cause of liberty.”

Healy’s words may ring hollow for Simmons, who seemed stunned his party seemed to choose money over his years of public service.

Healy, who managed Simmons’ last congressional campaign, did not attend the press conference. Their relationship grew strained this year when McMahon hired Healy’s wife, Susan Bibisi, as her traveling press aide.

Simmons seemed to have hoped the party would have chosen his experience over McMahon’s millions, especially in light of the recent blunder made by the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

Simmons often stated that character would be a central issue in the campaign. His campaign spent a lot of time trying to make the WWE’s sex and violence—and steroid usage by its wrestlers—an issue in the race.

“I’ve always tried to put the public good above private gain. It is this sense of service above self, nurtured in my early days as a young soldier in Vietnam, that has been a motivating force for over 40 years,” Simmons said. “That is what motivates me to make that decision now.”

The McMahon campaign seems to have bitten its tongue Tuesday when issuing its statement, which is much tamer than others prior to the convention.

“Rob Simmons obviously deserves all of the recognition he’s received for his patriotism and his military service to our country,“ McMahon campaign spokesman, Ed Patru, said. “Our focus moving forward, and the focus of Republicans across this state, is winning in November because it’s absolutely critical that we get Washington spending under control and start putting people back to work.”

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(7) Comments

posted by: Tessa Marquis | May 25, 2010  9:54am

Weird.

posted by: Martha H | May 25, 2010  2:45pm

Martha H

“Pickett’s Charge…. a foolish waste of people and resources with a tremendously demoralizing outcome.“

Yes…. Slave-owners throughout the South must have been royally pissed-off.  Damn shame, that.

posted by: Dave from News Talk Tonight | May 25, 2010  3:47pm

Come October, when the mud-wrestling…oops, I meant mud-slinging, gets REAL bad, we’re going to look back nostalgically and whimsically wonder what a Blumenthal/Simmons match-up would have been like.  Equating his primarying McMahaon to Pickett’s charge was an unfortunate mis-step on Simmons’ part, though, and he realized it too late (“Not that I would want the Confederacy to win.”).  Unfortuantely, that also plays into the hands of critics who think that Republicans look nostalgically to the past (just not almost 147 YEARS in the past)....

posted by: Martha H | May 25, 2010  7:57pm

Martha H

Obviously, Simmons didn’t mean to imply that he wished the pro-slavery rebels had won the CiIvil War.  He just, uhm, uh…  “Mis-spoke!”  Yeah - that’s the ticket!  Poor, emotional ex-CIA man mis-re-arranged his verbiage, that’s all.  Happens to the best of ‘em.  It’s not like there’s a PATTERN of…. {Huh? What’s that? Tape of remarks at a sub launch in ‘92??  Gotta run!!}

posted by: CT Jim | May 26, 2010  6:45am

Simmons is a
Joke, He won his congressional seat from a guy who needed a map to find his didstrict, then went on to spend 6 years as a rubber stamp for the Bush administration while his district floundered.
In comes landslide Joe, defeats him he starts whining like a 3 year old and the state creates a job for him at $150,000 a year called business advocate.
He spends the next 2 years cashing a check without doing anything. His job gets eliminated by the governor so he whines some more threatens to run for Gov. then Senator all the while sqealing like a pig.
Time for Simmons to do the state a favor. Leave! just please go! Don’t run for anything else your time has expired!

posted by: pajo | May 26, 2010  10:37pm

How the CT Republican party has stooped so low to have a HYPOCRITICAL, pretentious monster like McMahon as their frontrunner is totally beyond any comprehension.

Just look at her summary of “achievements”:

Many WWE performers’ premature deaths from condoned drug abuse by the McMahons; the message to young male WWE fans that sexual degradation of women and necrophilia ‘entertainment’ were OK; her obstuction of justice during a congressional investigation into the WWF on drug abuse; her refusal to answer news reporters’, her opponent’s, or the public’s probing questions about drug abuse and premature deaths during her reign as the WWE CEO; lying on her application for appointment to the CT Board of Ed; offering college students money if they registered as Republican voters; her slick, grossly over-simplified one-line TV ads; taking something completely out of context about Blumenthal’s service record to the New York Times; her lack of any sincere interest in public service and issues until 9 months ago (she never even voted!).

IMO, she is an out-of-control checkbook and egomaniac…I am also sick of being harassed by her barrage of phony mailers and TV ads…(as an example of how she may listen to her constituents, I asked her campaign office several times to be removed from her mailing list, but my request was completely ignored).

I can’t believe any self-respecting CT citizens (especially women) could even begin to support McMahon, based on the degenerate sleaze and borderline pornography her WWE business stood for all these years, and her attitude that she can buy her way into anything she wants! As many have noticed, she only responds to probing questions with carefully-prepared scripts - what a disgrace she is to intelligent CT voters!

I am an independent voter, have never volunteered to work in any political campaign before, but I am so disgusted I will now do whatever I can to help her opponent, WHOEVER THAT MAY BE, defeat McMahon…if my disgust is any indication of other Independent CT voters who feel the same way I do, she is going to be in big trouble, in spite of her blood money!

BTW, Blumenthal has fully recovered from any brief damage and it looks like Peter Schiff will have the required signature count to primary against her in August…Schiff simply destroyed her in the only so-called CT Republican debate held at the University of Hartford a few months ago (comparing her economic knowledge to Schiff’s was like

posted by: Todd Peterson | May 29, 2010  9:47am

I’m in agreement with pajo here.  As a Republican I’m disgusted with the fact that my party nominated someone who’s in this race for her own vanity.

Blood money is indeed what the McMahons have accrued.  I don’t think she can win in a general election - I certainly don’t want her to either!  I’m going to be working against her in whatever limited way I can.