Rob Simmons said tonight he will continue his campaign for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, waging a primary in August against the GOP’s endorsed candidate, Linda McMahon.

“Do I look like a quitter?” Simmons said.

Simmons vows to primary

Simmons on the way to the press room. (Mark Pazniokas)

Simmons huddled with his staff in room off the convention floor after it was apparent vote-switching would give McMahon a first-ballot victory.

He then marched with his wife, Heidi, trailed by staff to the press room to announce his decision. Along the way — the walk was the equivalent of a city block — he stopped to thank, comfort and hug supporters.

Peter Schiff said he will gather petitions to qualify for a three-way primary.

“The convention is rigged,” Schiff said, talking to a reporter as the Simmons’ entourage emerged from its staff room.

Here are Simmon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“I am very grateful for the support of all those who supported me tonight and who easily provided me the support to gain a spot on the ballot. I congratulate Mrs. McMahon on her victory.

“In addition, I’ve been honored by the support of over 14,000 donors over the course of this campaign, and over a million of their dollars of their money that they intended to be used to make my case remains in my campaign account.

“Linda McMahon has invested over $16 million in this campaign. I have spent nothing taking my case to the voters, and there remains a case to be made.

“We just saw earlier this week what can happen to an untested, unvetted candidate.

“There is much time left in this campaign. I have sufficient funds to make a compelling case to voters before the primary, and that is what is expected by my supporters, many of whom have already asked me to remain in this race regardless of outcome.

“Regardless of my decision, there will be a primary in this race. And as such, I intend to be a part of it. I believe the best thing I can do to help the Republican Party to victory in November is to give them another choice.

“I’m staying in this race and I am going to win in August.

“Thank you.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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