Simmons Considering Run

Rob Simmons told the Journal-Inquirer that he is considering either a run against Chris Dodd, or running for governor if Jodi Rell decides against re-election. He says he won’t challenger her for the top spot.

However, he says he’ll wait to see if the time is right before deciding on either.

A Simmons vs. Dodd race would instantly be on the national radar screen, I think.


27 responses to “Simmons Considering Run

  1. Simmons / Shays / Johnson could probably all raise a million bucks by Dec 31, 2009. And as much as we all dislike the money factor, it is very real.

    I generally like Simmons, but would want to know his views on monetary policy. Sound money or fiat money?

    I already know Dodd supported the bailout and wrote the law which gave sweeping new powers to the executive. Dodd (and Lieberman) need to go.

    My preference right now is Peter Schiff.

  2. My preference right now is Peter Schiff.

    That’s weird, last I talked to him he was for Tim White….go figure.

  3. Simmons against Dodd would be wonderfully exciting. He could ably present a campaign about how Dodd’s all about Washington while he’s better connected to our state’s needs. He’d also be the first challenger against Dodd with real foreign policy gravitas.

  4. Simmons against Dodd would be wonderfully exciting. He could ably present a campaign about how Dodd’s all about Washington while he’s better connected to our state’s needs. He’d also be the first challenger against Dodd with real foreign policy gravitas.

    Absolutely true. And think about this line of attack: Simmons can say that while Dodd has been raking in big donations from the financial sector and being the head of the Banking committee during the run-up to the crisis, Simmons has been helping small businesses in Connecticut.

    It would absolutely be the hardest campaign Dodd has faced for Senate since he was elected.

  5. The article gives the impression that Simmons is more interested in taking on Dodd than Dan Malloy. Good, I can see him in the Senate given his background and interests (although I have no doubt he would make a superb Chief Executive for CT). At this point I’d be surprised if Simmons doesn’t take on Dodd. I don’t think he’d be carrying around a cartoon of our senior Senator if he wasn’t on the verge of taking on the race.

    SIMMONS 2010!!!

  6. As much as this sounds like a competitive race when discussing it, the results probably wouldn’t be any closer than 53-46 with 1% split among minor parties. The CT GOP is in shambles. Chris Healy can’t even refute that claim. He has a governor that bucks the party on a consistent basis.

    As fun as a competitive race sounds, I just don’t forsee this happening with Dodd. He’s thoroughly entrenched.

  7. As fun as a competitive race sounds, I just don’t forsee this happening with Dodd. He’s thoroughly entrenched.

    There’s no doubt it’ll be a tough race for Simmons to win. Still, if he could take out an incumbent as entrenched as Sam Gejdenson was in 2000 then Dodd better watch out.

  8. There’s no doubt it’ll be a tough race for Simmons to win. Still, if he could take out an incumbent as entrenched as Sam Gejdenson was in 2000 then Dodd better watch out.

    This is true. Sam was thought to be invulnerable, especially after winning two really close races in the early 1990s and cruising ever since. But Simmons was able to pick up on discontent in the district with Sam and capitalize on it. There’s a certain discontent with Dodd right now, even among some Democrats, and if Simmons can exploit that he’s in the running.

  9. AndersonScooper

    A couple of points:

    1) When people decide to poll Simmons vs Dodd, they also need to poll Simmons vs Blumenthal. (And DeLauro, and Bysiewicz.) Because there is a very real chnce, if Dodd’s numbers remain in the 40’s, that Dodd will retire or even be forced out.

    My belief is that Simmons would poll very closely with Dodd, but that Blumenthal would lead by 15% or more.

    Anyway, if little Dick wants a US Senate seat, it’s time for him to grow a set and make a move. The 2010 Senate seat is the road for him, (2012 belongs to Murphy or Himes or Bysiewicz), and really Dick, just cite the damn poll numbers. No one wants to lose a Senate seat to an old Bush buddy like Simmons.

    2) I just want to register my disgust that Rell, and the CT GOP parked Simmons in a six-figure State job, just so he could travel the State making friends in the Right places. It’s as bad as the Donovan-Amann deal, only the quarter-million $$$ pay out actually happened.

    3) Expect Healy to run Simmons’ campaign.

    4) This will mark the 3rd cycle in a row where Connecticut means something on the national stage. What a lot of fun!

  10. I agree that Simmons would give the GOP their best chance, given the fact that Simmons was in some terms a “prolific” fundraiser. Over $3 million in the 2006 cycle isn’t too shabby.

    Chris Dodd is not Sam Gejdenson and Sam Gejdenson was certainly not Dodd. Think about that sentence.

    If Dodd were in any trouble, you’d better believe he’d have overwhelming support from the DSCC, the Connecticut House Delegation, and our President.

    My question is what is Simmons’ power base? I struggle to find one for him. Let’s be honest with ourselves and say that there aren’t enough military veterans in the state to compensate for the fact that regardless of how people view Dodd, they will not stand to see a Republican representing them in the Senate. Rob Simmons stands for less than a majority of CT citizens.

    I would be very interested in seeing how high Simmons’ name recognition and favorability ratings outside of the 2nd CD.

    His district turned on him in favor of Courtney, who he beat very handily (8 points) in 2002. I believe he’d keep it close in the 2nd and 4th CD, but strong numbers in those two districts will not be enough to compensate for high numbers for Dodd in the 3rd and 1st CD’s. I’ll be kind and say the 5th could feasibly be the deciding district.

    Dodd must be stronger in articulating his mortgage debacle. He must nip this in the bud before the mass media wants to create a real story out of something.

    No way Dodd will retire during this period of stimuli. It would be a sign of cowardice. I would never call Dodd a coward. I’d just call him juiced and ensconced in the DC mentality. If it fails, Dodd will go down with the ship. Dodd’s future and Obama’s future lies with this stimulus package. We’ll have to wait until 2016 for us to know whether Dodd stays or goes.

  11. What, if any, recognition or base does Simmons have outside of CT-2 – or, really, southeastern Connecticut? He’s a character and would be a pitbull against Dodd, no doubt. But in the end, what kind of state-wide profile does he have? And does his “shtick” play in Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven, etc? Probably not.

    Simmons has far too much time on his hands right now. He should find a hobby that doesnt include elected office.

  12. Yankee Doodle

    “dereliction of duty”? “Ides of March”? Oh, brother. At least a run against Dodd would give us months of classic Simmons.

  13. AndersonScooper

    Simmons comes off as a Connecticut Yankee. Personally, I can’t stand him, but he does have broad appeal.

    What people need to understand is that if Dodd’s re-elect number is at 40%, he is vulnerable to any reasonably well-financed challenger.

    Look at the Himes-Shays contest. Himes had no name recognition, heck, he had never even held office before. But people were done with Shays, and Himes won running a very play-it-safe campaign.

    Simmons could never beat Dodd without some national winds at his back, but that could easily happen, and would be natural two years into a new President.

    And please, we can’t forget how easy the arguments/commercials would be against Dodd, particularly if this recession gets worse.

  14. Arguments and commercials are all well and great. The GOP has a broken infrastructure in the state. If they were smart, they would be focusing on grassroots efforts in every single county in the state ala 1950’s/60’s style. The national party may want to start paying attention to states such as CT because Steele is considered a moderate.

    You’re absolutely right though Anderson, if things get worse, 527’s may come after Dodd. But as history has told us, 527’s aren’t always successful… Especially the ones that lean GOP (with the grand exception of Swift Boat).

    The GOP will be focusing on the mass amounts of open seats in the key swing states. CT will most surely be a 3rd tier for the NRSC. Look at the states that are in play in that cycle – Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas(pending Hutchison’s decision about retirement), North Carolina, Oklahoma (if Coburn retires, which is becoming increasingly possible), Kentucky, New Hampshire. Not to mention the fact that they will be working hard to unseat Reid in Nevada. Hell, they’ve already begun their barrage of ads. I honestly think that even Georgia would be more of a priority to hold than to go on the offensive in CT. Why do it in CT when they could take the heart out of Dems by playing hard in NY?

    I just don’t see it happening. Regardless of Dodd’s reelection number.

    I don’t see Simmons’ broad appeal. He just sort of seems like another face in the crowd.

  15. Simmons is still pretty popular east of the river.

    It’s west of the river where he’d run into trouble, but I think a lot of independents would warm to him.

  16. ModerateDem08

    Don’t underestimate Simmons against Dodd. He is a focused, tireless campaigner who stays on message and is well disciplined. While Republicans were getting slaughtered in Red States, Simmons lost by a mere 83 votes in a Blue State with everything else going against him. If it were not for a well run race with a great candidate in Courtney, Simmons would still be Congressman. Remember it is a Gubernatorial year and turnout will be lower, especially in the cities. A lot of people smell blood in the water. Dodd will keep his base, will have plenty of money, but CT independents may turn on him. After the bailout and this stimulus package Dodd may be damaged goods.

  17. AndersonScooper


    No one saw Courtney, Murphy or Jim Himes’ “broad appeal”. And you could argue that the 2006 Senate race was all about Lieberman and that any generic Democrat would have done as well as Ned Lamont. My point is that sometimes these political contests are little more than a referendum on the incumbent.

    I believe that 2010 in CT could resemble what happened to Liddy Dole in North Carolina this year. Check out Kay Hagan. She was a mere state senator before taking down Dole.)

    Or consider 2006 and what Jim Webb pulled off against favorite son George Allen in Virginia. People abandoned Allen as much as they embraced Webb, who was not a great campaigner.

    And let me tell you why they’ll try to steal a seat in CT before NY, — it’s a hell of a lot cheaper, media-wise.

    Look, I’m not saying Dodd is going to lose. It depends. But he’s certainly in trouble, and Dodd’s own actions, (running around the state, etc.), reflect that reality.

    Check out the trend lines on the 12/17/08 Q-Poll, that showed Dodd at 47% approval. What’s going to bring his numbers back up?

    a) Will Simmons run? I say 90% yes.
    b) Will he be able to raise the necessary $$$. Absolutely.
    c) Will the recession get worse? Yes, afraid so.
    d) Will voters look to blame someone for the mess? Someone in the party of power?
    e) Will CT Statehouse Dems raise taxes? Heh.
    f) Will Dodd take on the financial institutions that have been the biggest contributors to his campaign coffers?
    g) Will voters continue to wake up to the fact that Dodd is in the back-pockets of those he’s supposed to regulate?
    h) Will Blumenthal grab the brass ring? (or sit out yet another cycle.)

    Again, I suggest this is all about Dodd. And if Simmons starts polling close, I’m going to be one of the first to put a Blumenthal 2010 sticker on the back of my car, as Simmons could never beat Blumenthal.

    PS– Ned Lamont is still out there with a big desire to make another run at something…

  18. You make very solid points. But you forget that the DSCC targeted Dole before they “backed” Kay Hagan in the primary. It wasn’t about Kay Hagan. The DSCC needed a vehicle to push the message home about Dole and Hagan happened to be a better fundraiser and person to embody that vehicle. This is not North Carolina, where it is traditionally a Republican state (in the presidential) that votes in Democrats to their statewide offices (see Kentucky as well).

    I suppose Rob Simmons could be that vehicle. But you never commented on my point – the NRSC will not be able to raise the funds to compete in Connecticut when they have to save up to 5 of their own seats that have become open or are increasingly becoming competitive.

    Florida – Very expensive
    Missouri – Moderately Expensive
    New Hampshire – Cheap but increasingly trending blue
    Ohio – Very Expensive
    Pennsylvania – Very Expensive

    And don’t forget Nevada – They’re going to throw everything and the kitchen sink at this state.

    NRSC is going to continue to have fundraising problems. Even if this race could be competive, it won’t happen because the money won’t be there. Simmons would need help beyond his own fundraising prowess.

    Blumenthal is a hack. You’re open to have your favorable opinions but I have no respect for him. He loves the headlines and if there’s a who’s who function, you bet your bottom dollar that he’ll be there.

    He’s stuck. He doesn’t want to run for a higher office because if he loses he’s done. His ceiling has come and is rapidly fading now that he’s passed on the Governor’s race.

    Ned Lamont WILL NOT run for this senate seat. Not after what Dodd and Larson did for him in 2006. Lamont owes Dodd. Why do you think he trekked out to Iowa for him? There is no doubt in my mind that Lamont is eying 2012.

    Bysiewicz would make a fine Governor. Hopefully she picks a good campaign staff this time around. And hopefully she will raise more money. Malloy had his shot and isn’t enough of a bulldog to take down Rell. He comes off as too much of a nice guy. Amann is so boring the man can’t even excite himself. This race will be an uphill battle for any Dem.

    Denise Nappier, Nancy Wyman, and Jonathan Harris. These three individuals must move up and become more prominent. All three are superstars that are just waiting to be unleashed. If any three of them were to run in 2012 against Lieberman, I’d do everything in my power to help them – especially if it’s Jonathan Harris. He’s a great guy.

  19. I think Simmons is way too provincial; he doesn’t have the “broad appeal” that a post-Obama campaign will demand. His voice cracks, he’ll put people to sleep, he has the liability/cred of the CIA past, which cuts two ways. The Dems/left in CT is too well organized, and a webby presence isn’t their GOP thing, the commenters here not withstanding. The ground game ain’t what it used to be.

    But he is utterly a Second District provincialist, practically a Rhode Islander with respect to the wider issues of urban Connecticut, the need for a new paradigm and a 21st century CT agenda.

    I can’t see him raising the bucks he would need. He reeks of a past era of hegemony of white bread GOP’ers , now extinct. Chris Healy and his ilk are the docents of that museum of the mind. They bring nothing new – snore.

    They won’t Limbaugh-up like the fundie-wingers expect, and that 25 % just won’t come around, because they don’t like to see milquetoast politicians who won’t rip the flesh of liberalism with bared fangs, with all the concomitant lies, and dog whistle stuff that just won’t fly anymore in Connecticut, as if it ever did. Some people really do get those tassled loafers, it gives them peace.

    Younger voters will just say “Huh?”

    His only hope would be to go all-populist and hit every town, every TeeVee, and be so out there that even low-info voters would have a clue. But they don’t have that verve, that grass-roots drive like a Lamont or Murphy, and teh RNC won’t come through – ain’t worth it when you got all those Red State races to win. It’s why they’re Republicans, and they will go the way of Bob Dole. Zzzzzzzz.

  20. Wow, the Simmons-Dodd 2010 race is generating quite a bit of debate. Impressive.

    I think Anderson Scooper makes solid points. A lot will depend on circumstances beyond the control of either Dodd or Simmons.

    ch11, you raise some topics worth discussing, but NRSC funds are not going to decide this race. If Simmons can make a compelling argument to replace Dodd and raise a decent amount of money on his own then he’s got a shot. Besides, if it’s the summer or fall ’10, Dodd is polling neck and with Simmons then the NRSC will come in regardless of what is going on in KY, MO, FL or NH.

    Suffice to say this will be a great race. At the very least this has the potential (almost certainty) to be the first real GOP – Dem contest for a Senate seat in CT since 1988.

  21. AndersonScooper

    Glad you mentioned Jonathan Harris.

    It’s my theory that one of the West Hartford guys, (Harris, Sliffka, Fleischmann), might be the Democrats best chance of taking the Governorship in 2014 if we fail in 2010.

    I think DeStefano proved that running a big-city mayor, (no matter how successful), won’t work.

    So I believe that West Hartford, with its numbers, becomes the best base of power to support a successful gubernatorial run.

    We’ll see how well either Malloy or Bysiewicz does this cycle.

    PS– I’m not a huge fan of Blumenthal, not unless he grows a set. But he polls more favorably than any Democrat in the state and it were a matter of getting rid of Rell, I’d back him, as I would have against Lieberpuke in 2006.

    Blummie’s mistake is to confuse his poll numbers with his true support amongst CT Democratic delegates and insiders. We’re too smart, and we know him too well. Despite all the favors he’s done for people, he won’t be able to prevent Chris Murphy or Susie B. from rising to the top in 2012. Dick is getting old, too old. Who wants to send a 67yr old to the U.S. Senate?

    However, if Lieberman decides to run as a Republican, or as an Independent in a delectable 3-way run, perhaps Blummie’s chances get a little better out of electoral pragmatism. I’ll support him if the math dictates it.

  22. Well in regards to Harris, you have to support the hometown guy! Don’t forget that his district includes a sliver from the 5th CD. I won’t hold Blueback Square against him. West Hartford had become economically inept in regards to business and had flatlined. I can’t stand BBS, but it’s helping out the town. He’s been involved in a lot of high profile bills and he’s the perfect guy to run for higher office.

    I agree. Murphy would be great, so would S.B. for any elevated office. The bench is thin in the 5th CD, so Murphy may have to wait until 2016. We’re not going to raise Jim Maloney from the Political Graveyard are we? Although Gerratana (the daughter) wouldn’t be too bad. I’m sorry, I just love hypotheticals such as these…

    EB- Dems wouldn’t have won the seats they won in 2006 and 2008 without the vast amounts of money raised and spent. Like I said, the GOP will see this state as a trial balloon for 2016. Run a reputable candidate like Simmons and hope someone raises their profile enough to take on Dodd or an open seat in 2016. Connecticut voters aren’t always forgiving, but they’ll forgive Dodd when his campaign reminds them of all the good work he’s done over the years. Sure, if those numbers look competitive, they may throw some money at Simmons, but any smart GOPer will realize that a solid defense in regards to the open seats is much better than a half-a**ed attack. Simmons will need $8-$12 million dollars to remain competitive, assuming the NRSC helps out a little bit of course. A very daunting task in this tough economy and touchy environment for CT GOPers.

    Look at how much Lamont spent out of his own pocket. Granted he had to spend more to create name recognition but still…

    Let’s wait and see a poll or two of a head to head with Dodd as well as Name Recognition/Favorables of Simmons.

  23. Regarding Simmons, don’t forget that his vicotry was as much about redistricting and the 2nd CD’s loss of strongly Democratic Middletown as it was about Sam living somewhere in Rosa’s CD. Don’t overestimate Simmons. He’s still creepy on a number of levels to the vast majority of people who live outside of the 2nd. If he’s the best on the Republican bench, then the Republicans will have difficulty taking Dodd’s seat.

    Regarding the up and coming discussed above:

    Slifka is uninspiring, but fortunate to be victorious in a town that has been somewhat balanced politically. It was not long ago that the Republicans held the majority and their demise has more to do with the fact that they succombed to infighting and have basically beaten themselves. Nevertheless, he is still green and was clearly in over his head at the state level last round — he did get pummeled by Glassman. Has he matured enough to make stronger run?

    Malloy’s appeal is that Stamford is also fairly balanced politically — there is a viable Republican party in an area of the state that is fiscally conservative — a factor that will help immensely in the general but may be a liability in the primary. He rose from obscurity to pluck the convention from DeStefano — so he understands how to play the game.

    How did West Hartford bloom to be a hotbed of political aspirations?

    Anyway, Harris is certainly a candidate to watch. But he has yet to make a name outside of his hometown. His name rec must be abyssmal. But there is time to address that.

    Fleischmann, who is Seinfeld to Sullivan’s Neuman, could make a strong run to SOTS, but Sullivan will stand in his way if for no other reason but spite.

    Speaking of Glassman, that’s another name to watch — she’s like Sarah Palin with a brain and a conscious. And she can see West Hartford from her house.

    Malloy/Glassman would be a tough ticket.

  24. West Hartford is anything but “balanced politically.”

  25. lamontcranston

    Regarding Simmons, don’t forget that his vicotry was as much about redistricting and the 2nd CD’s loss of strongly Democratic Middletown as it was about Sam living somewhere in Rosa’s CD. Don’t overestimate Simmons. He’s still creepy on a number of levels to the vast majority of people who live outside of the 2nd. If he’s the best on the Republican bench, then the Republicans will have difficulty taking Dodd’s seat.

    Interesting theory, except for the fact that Middletown was in the 2nd district when Rob beat Sam. The lines were redrawn after the 2000 election.

  26. AndersonScooper

    Simmons actually benefited from the redistricting.

    He traded liberal Middletown to Rosa, in exchange for a very Republican Madison.

    Overall a pick-up of 3-4,000 Republican votes.


  27. Sam might have had organization problems, too. During one of the pre redistricting campaigns, an acquaintance approached a couple workers at the East Hampton mall and asked the question: Do you know that you’re in the first congressional district?
    One of the workers looked at the other and said, “We’re outta here!” 🙂

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