- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — Former Rep. Rob Simmons ended his campaign in the U.S. Senate race in Connecticut on Tuesday but said his name will remain on the Republican primary ballot alongside Linda McMahon, who has the support of party leaders.

Mr. Simmons said he understood the “mathematical reality” of competing against Mrs. McMahon, a former World Wrestling Entertainment executive. She has pledged to spend $50 million of her own money on the race to succeed retiring Democrat Sen. Christopher J. Dodd.

“It’s an unbelievable amount of dough,” Mr. Simmons said during an interview on WXLM-FM in New London. “And that, I think, 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.”

A spokesman for Mrs. McMahon said her campaign was working on a statement about Mr. Simmons.

Mrs. McMahon narrowly outpolled Mr. Simmons at the GOP convention Friday — just days after Mrs. McMahon’s camp took credit for research that aided a New York Times report that the front-runner in the race, Democrat Richard Blumenthal, had distorted his Vietnam-era military service record.

But Mr. Simmons earned enough delegates to qualify for the Aug. 10 primary ballot.

“Forty-six percent of my fellow Republicans at the convention supported my campaign,” Mr. Simmons said at a news conference at a New London hotel. “I believe I owe them the choice, but let me repeat: I am curtailing campaign activities. I am releasing my staff.”

Mr. Simmons also said he is ending fundraising efforts, which he said were harmed by his being outpolled by Mrs. McMahon.

Mr. Simmons said he was disappointed with the outcome of the convention because he thought his experience would help him. The decorated Vietnam veteran served three terms in the U.S. House before losing the 2006 election by just 83 votes to Democrat Joe Courtney.

A third Republican in the race, Fairfield County money manager Peter Schiff, said in a statement Tuesday that he looks forward to a two-person race against Mrs. McMahon and he intends to win. Mr. Schiff has said he will petition his way onto the primary ballot.

Democrats have nominated Mr. Blumenthal, the state attorney general, despite the controversy over the misstatements.

Mr. Blumenthal apologized this week but said his mistakes were unintentional. He said he misspoke when he said on several occasions that he served with the Marine Reserves “in” Vietnam instead of “during” Vietnam, when he was stationed stateside during the war.



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