Connecticut Senate: Rob Simmons (R-Real Vietnam Vet) Is Out

The flap over Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and what he said about his military service has not gone away and may continue to linger as an issue for the remainder of his campaign for the Senate.  Even members of his own party are expressing concerns, as Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine did Sunday on ABC's "This Week" (Blumenthal was "inflating and exaggerating") and on "Fox News Sunday" (Blumenthal "clearly overstated, exaggerated, and it was important that he correct that").

So while Blumenthal may not have satisfied all his critics, and may never be able to do so, he is the Democratic nominee for the seat of retiring Sen. Christopher Dodd (D).  At the state Democratic convention on Friday, Blumenthal won his party's blessing in a rout, as opponent Merrick Alpert failed to win enough support to make the Aug. 10 primary ballot.  Alpert, who got into the race when Dodd was still a candidate, ended his candidacy.

And now the battle on the Republican side has ended as well.

Former Rep. Rob Simmons, who lost the GOP nomination at his party's state convention to former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, announced Tuesday he was also ending his candidacy:

We all felt strongly that I had the experience, qualifications and opportunity to be that Connecticut Republican Senate candidate.  On this basis we set as an important goal to win the Republican nomination at the convention on May 21st. We fell just short of that goal last Friday.

Indeed, there were those who thought that the flap over Blumenthal's comments about his "service in Vietnam" would benefit Simmons, who really and truly served in Vietnam.

But McMahon had two things going for her ... correction, she had 50 million things going for her.  She said from the outset that she would be willing to spend $50 million of her own money on the race.  And that proved too much for Simmons:

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.

The Hartford Courant's Daniela Altimari notes that Simmons, the "one-time frontunner" for the GOP nomination, "did not say whether he would endorse McMahon or vote for her in November."

Simmons was first elected to Congress in 2000, when he narrowly ousted Democratic incumbent Sam Gejdenson.  Six years later he fell victim to the anti-Republican/anti-Bush mood in the country, but just barely: he lost to Joe Courtney (D) by only 83 votes out of more than 242,000 cast.

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