Rob Simmons downplays talk of Senate reentry (and for good reason)
By Aaron Blake
Former Connecticut Republican Rep. Rob Simmons -- through a surrogate -- dismissed chatter that he might re-enter the state's Senate race, speculation he set off Wednesday in an interview with a local reporter.
"I'm thinking about it,'' Simmons told the Hartford Courant's Rick Green yesterday. "I'm trying to think about what's right what's honest and what's decent."
But now Simmons is backing off a bit. In a statement provided to The Fix, former campaign manager Jim Barnett says Simmons is not secretly waging a comeback.
"Nothing has changed for Rob," Barnett said. "He gets frequent appeals from friends, allies, donors and people he otherwise holds in high regard, and he feels he owes it to them to consider their thoughts and concerns. But he has no plans to reengage."
Simmons left the race in late May, leaving former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon as the presumptive GOP nominee. But ever since, there have been (not so) subtle suggestions that he might not be completely finished -- starting with the fact that Simmons suspended rather than ended his campaign.
Politically, there is little impetus for Simmons to get back into the race.
Way back in May, we wrote about what might need to happen to give Simmons the justification to re-run.
A quick refresher course (with updates!):
* A shoe drops on McMahon: We haven't seen it in the nearly two months since Simmons dropped out, and it's not clear who would be pushing such a story. Primary opponent Peter Schiff's campaign hasn't exactly impressed anyone, and if Democratic candidate Richard Blumenthal has anything (more) juicy on the controversial McMahon, he's likely to save it for the general election.
* Schiff lights a fire: Schiff has stirred some excitement in the Tea Party in the early days of the race. But, the Simmons' dream scenario of Schiff emerging as a serious candidate and spending to attack McMahon -- and open the door for someone to shoot up the middle -- simply hasn't materialized.
* Democrats attack: There has been a steady drumbeat of anti McMahon stories -- primarily focused on an alleged tolerance for rampant steroid abuse -- but while Democrats have made sure that reporters are aware of those pieces, there hasn't been an all-out effort to drive McMahon out. That likely reflects the belief that McMahon's background provides a treasure trove of general election opposition research for state Attorney General Dick Blumenthal and national Democrats.
Simmons didn't have much reason to stay in the race in late May, and he's got even less reason to jump back in now with the primary rapidly approaching.
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