Simmons makes it clear, above all, that he is ready for more political combat. Unlike most of his soon-to-be-former colleagues, he's not complaining. The Vietnam veteran and former CIA operations officer has been schooled to absorb the blows. He understands you suck it up when you're down and get ready for the next mission.
Probe a little, it doesn't take much, and he explains just why he's feeling pretty good. Six years ago, he won his seat in a district that George W. Bush lost, a district that had elected Democrat Sam Gejdenson to Congress 10 times between 1980 and 1998. Connecticut's 2nd is a place where, as political analyst Amy Walter put it, Republicans begin a race "with 20 pound weights around their legs."
"I didn't get the feeling there was dissatisfaction with me personally," he explains. He will make the same point over and over during an hourlong conversation: "I was operating in a hostile environment." Lightman)
That's absolutely true. Simmons himself is still well-liked--unlike, say, Nancy Johnson who lost the trust and respect of her constituents on the way to an ignominious defeat. That's what makes his prospects so interesting.
Simmons, the article mentions, will continue to live in Stonington. He's not going to become a consultant or a lobbyist down in Washington--he's going to stay in Connecticut.
Narrow defeat may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Simmons. Now his options are wide open. He can chair the Republican Party in Connecticut, think about another run for Congress in 2008, governor or senator in 2010 or any number of other possibilities. For those who were hoping he'd just go away, think again. He'll be back, in one form or another.
Lightman, David. "Simmons Readies For More Battles." Hartford Courant 11 December, 2006.