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Rob Simmons Says He's Back in Connecticut Senate Race

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Rob Simmons speaks during a debate at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., July 27, 2010. AP

Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) was clear and concise in announcing that he will restart his Senate campaign in Connecticut, perhaps because there are less than two weeks left before the state's August 10th primary.

In a debate Tuesday night with Republican candidate Peter Schiff, Simmons announced, "I am running for the U.S. Senate," adding that he is still an active candidate and that he chose to restart his campaign "because I love my country and I don't like where it's going."

Democratic and Republican front-runners Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon did not attend the debate.

Simmons also sent out an e-mail following the debate, reaffirming his announcement.

"This is not a time for slogans or gimmicks, but for serious leadership in serious times," he wrote. "I'm Rob Simmons, and I'm still on the ballot."

Simmons, who served in the House from 1990-2000, suspended his Senate campaign last May after the party decided to endorse McMahon instead of him. But his name remained on the ballot, allowing him to change his mind now.

Simmons also lauded his work in the House and as the state's Business advocate. "As our state's Business Advocate, I helped hundreds of small businesses grow and create jobs," he said. "My record in Congress earned exemplary marks from leading business and taxpayer groups. And I've got a plan to slash our deficits, reduce taxes and create millions of new jobs."

He added: "Republicans need to take a serious look at the candidates and the issues to decide who will stand strongest against Richard Blumenthal and the Democrats in November," he wrote. "While I have no intention of tearing down my fellow Republicans, or undermining our eventual Republican nominee, I believe I provide Republicans with a better choice."

But the McMahon camp seemed to think otherwise and quickly issued a statement dismissing Simmons' campaign as "increasingly erratic and bizarre" behavior.

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"Simmons walked away from this campaign two months ago, and over the past few weeks his behavior has grown increasingly erratic and bizarre," McMahon's spokesman Shawn McCoy said in a statement. "It's impossible to take his campaign seriously, and it's difficult to believe anything he says at this point."

This is just the latest episode in what has already become among the most closely-watched Senate races across the country.

Earlier this year, Blumenthal faced wide-spread criticism for making exaggerated claims about his military service. The race has also grabbed attention in recent weeks with the release of new ads blasting McMahon for her involvement in pro wrestling through her job as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows that while McMahon leads the contest for the Republican primary with 52 percent of likely voters to Simmons' 25 percent, she trails Blumenthal 54 to 37 in a head-to-head match-up. Simmons also trails Blumenthal 55 to 35.

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