Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 25, 2010

CONNECTICUT OFFERS A SIGN OF THE TIMES.... At first blush, Rob Simmons looked like a very strong Senate candidate in Connecticut. A retired Army Colonel and fairly moderate, former three-term House member, Simmons kicked off his Senate bid last year and appeared very competitive. Democrats had reason to worry.

This morning, however, Simmons is done, effectively ending his campaign rather than fight an uphill primary battle against former wrestling executive Linda McMahon.

Simmons made the announcement on WXLM-FM in New London, but he stopped short of definitively saying he was dropping out of the race. He said he was releasing all his staff, ceasing fundraising and would no longer issue news releases.

Simmons planned an announcement later Tuesday morning. A Republican with knowledge of Simmons' plans told The Associated Press that Simmons is expected to withdraw from the race.

"I will no longer be campaigning," Simmons said during the radio interview.

As campaign developments go, this one is tough to understand. Indeed, after last week's controversy over state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's (D) rhetoric about his military service, Simmons would presumably be an even stronger candidate -- he's a decorated Vietnam vet.

So, why would Connecticut Republicans push aside the war hero with a track record of winning congressional elections, in favor of an inexperienced candidate best known for helping run a controversial wrestling company?

Part of it came down to ideology. Simmons had a moderate voting record, while McMahon, now the likely GOP nominee, embraced a far-right, Tea Party platform. For some Connecticut primary voters, Simmons may have been the stronger choice in November, and he tried to pretend to be as conservative as the party base is, but he just wasn't right-wing enough.

And then there's the money -- McMahon's lucrative wrestling business made her extremely wealthy, and she committed $50 million of her own money on the campaign. Simmons couldn't keep up, so he's quitting.

If the purported Republican "wave" fails to materialize in the midterm elections, it will have something to do with bizarre Republican electoral decisions like this one.

Steve Benen 10:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Comments

as much as i don't like making predictions 6 months out, watching ca, nv, fla, and now ct, the gop seems bound and determined to let the democrats hang on to flippable seats...not that i'm complaining

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 25, 2010 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

It is a lucky break for the Dems and the same thing may be happening in Nevada. Rand Paul may not be the strongest candidate in Kentucky and Rubio has assured that if Crist does win in Florida, he will not do it as a Republican. The downside of all this good news brought by the teabaggers is that the odds are they will win a few races and then we will have some more Michelle Bachmann crazies to contend with in Congress. The real issue is what effect this will have on the GOP members who are not certifiable, but have been acting that way since November 2008

Posted by: terry on May 25, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

And then there's the money. Isn't that what it really all comes down to anymore?

Posted by: Gridlock on May 25, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Simply the results of sitting too long behind the desk and not practicing your hand to hand combat skills. Losing two falls out of three to a woman, geez.

BTW, Steve, could you run a thread on the election between Raul Labrador and Vaughn Ward in Idaho? Just love dustups between two far right wingers as to who is the more pure of the pure. Really has their respective nutzo camps in a dither.

Posted by: berttheclock on May 25, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Simmons will endorse Blumenthal. Recall the NY23rd election.

Posted by: flyonthewall on May 25, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

As the McMahons have always been about getting rich and then richer and then richer, I am wondering what riches they expect to gain from her becoming a U.S. Senator?

But then again, what financial gains are expected by Meg Whitman that she will spend massive amounts of her money to become governor of California?

Posted by: SadOldVet on May 25, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

In a related Item I was watching Faux Nooze last night (so you don't have to) and the BIG Republican win in Hawaii was still headline stuff. Much discussion and back and forth about how he will win the seat in the fall. Right. If they keep this stuff up, there is going to be some severe fainting and carrying on come the fall.

Posted by: John R on May 25, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

True to form, repubs are going with another "celebrity" candidate who knows nothing about governing but knows how to push the hot-buttons to work the wingers into a sweaty lather.

Posted by: beep52 on May 25, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Any millionaire committed to spending that amount of money on something expects a significant return on investment.

If the Tea Party really cared about what it espouses, and wasn't just a front for thinly veiled racism, these are exactly the kind of people it wouldn't want in office.

Posted by: doubtful on May 25, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

@ sadoldvet and others....don't forget carlyfornication...she's spending big bigs for a govt' pay check, too

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans are setting themselves up more and more for a repeat of 1948. Of course, this requires a Democrat to "give 'em hell" for that to work...

Posted by: TCinLA on May 25, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Simmons was no stronger in the general than McMahon. He ran a lackluster campaign where he tried to align himself with Teabaggers, going so far as to carry a teabag in his pocket. Yes, he was a Vietnam vet, but that wasn't going to be enough to beat Blumenthal. McMahon, despite her sleazebag past, has a strong organization that had run an effective campaign casting her as a plucky outsider. And she's got gobs of cash. Think about how great this is for the GOP. A wounded Blumenthal makes this a competitive seat, at least for now. The GOP needs money in order to maximize its gains in the fall. With McMahon, they get a candidate no worse than Simmons who will not cost them a dime. She will wage a brutal campaign and flood the airwaves with negative ads. Don't celebrate just yet.

Posted by: NHCt on May 25, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

True to form, repubs are going with another "celebrity" candidate who knows nothing about governing but knows how to push the hot-buttons to work the wingers into a sweaty lather.

What beep52 said.

Sometime I think they are trying to get people like this elected so they can have a reps in the Senate and Congress that don't know what they are doing. That way they can tell them how to vote and they won't make a fuss about it. Just vote in lockstep. Wasn't that how it went with gwb? Everybody knows cheney was pulling the strings on that one. That are just doing more of the same. Trying to consolidate power in the hands of a few power hungry old men.

Posted by: kanopsis on May 25, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Kanopsis:

When in that House, MP's divide
If they've got brain and cerebellum too
They've got to leave that brain outside
And vote just as their leaders tell 'em to.
But then, the prospect of a lot
of dull MP's in close proximity
All thinking for themselves is what
No man can face with equanimity.
So let's rejoice with loud fal la
That nature always does contrive
That every boy and every gal
Who's born into this world alive
is either a little Liberal or else a little Conservative!
W.S. Gilbert

Posted by: T-Rex on May 25, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

What are McMahon's motivations, spending $50M to make less than $250k/yr. She would have serve for 200 years to break even.

Being a politician isn't easy, it's not diamond mining, but it's not living in the lap of luxury which is where McMahon is right now. Long hours, always being on your guard, and campaigning.

It's a horrible investment and I have a real hard time believing she is doing out for some sense of National service.

Fiorina and Whitman I get, they are padding their resume's to get on boards which is far more lucrative.

Posted by: ScottW714 on May 25, 2010 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's safe to say that the advent of the "Tea Party" signals the end of the Reagan revolution.

Good riddance.

Posted by: citizen_pain on May 25, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

McMahon is going to have to answer for her family's history of encouraging (in fact, some say requiring) Steroid drug abuse in the WWF/WWE.

I think she is going to turn out to be a fatally flawed candidate.

Posted by: The Other Ed on May 25, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't surprise me that the party that supports teabaggers also supports bigtime wrestling.

Posted by: Schtick on May 25, 2010 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

McMahon might look attractive right now, but she brings her own ready made weaknesses. Those weaknesses are going to be really hard to over come. I think she is pooring 50 Million down a rat hole.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 25, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

If the Republican wave doesn't materialize are Republicans going to ask themselves why or are they just going to double down on crazy yet again?

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 25, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I am a strong supporter of Linda McMahon! If we can elect Joe Liebermann, why can we not elect Linda! We, the people of Connecticut, continue to show our independence from the political parties by selecting self serving hacks to national office. Of that we are proud.

Her WWF/WWE encouragement of the use of steroids is obviously not a disqualifier for public office. Otherwise, the acknowledged decades long steroid user would not be the 'governator' of California.

Her background in the entertainment industry is obviously not a disqualifier for public office. Otherwise, our greatest president of all time (Saint Ronald of the Raygun) would never have been elected governor and then president of the Uncommon Senility of Amerika.

I am sure that, upon election, Linda will show all of the political independence and self preservation that we have come to expect of our most famous Senator Joe.

Besides that, she will probably endorse Saint Sarah for Pres in 2012...

Go Linda Go... Run Sarah Run...

Posted by: ConnecticutYankeeInSaintSarahsCourt on May 25, 2010 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

In a related Item I was watching Faux Nooze last night (so you don't have to) and the BIG Republican win in Hawaii was still headline stuff. Much discussion and back and forth about how he will win the seat in the fall. Right. If they keep this stuff up, there is going to be some severe fainting and carrying on come the fall.
Posted by: John R
~~~~~
R's fail at math. In their world 39% is greater than 58%.

Posted by: Hannah on May 25, 2010 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

ICP Juggalos for McMahon!

Sheesh...

Posted by: josef on May 25, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Fifty million bucks, as McMahon has predicted she's willing to spend, is huge money in a Connecticut race.

Fifty million would pretty much guarantee a win in a California statewide race.

McMahon is just another obscene mill/bill-ionaire.

When will Americans wake up to the problems of money in politics?

There are other ways to run a democracy, as all the other democracies in the world have shown us.

Posted by: JimmyJeff on May 25, 2010 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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