STONINGTON — Rob Simmons had just returned to town in 1985 after a long stint working on Capitol Hill when local Republicans approached him about running for a seat on the board of selectmen.
An Army colonel and retired CIA officer, Simmons had never run for public office before, and he wasn't expected to win. But he agreed to be the party's sacrificial lamb, giving it his all even though his lawn signs referred to him as Ron instead of Rob.
Losing that race 30 years ago kicked off an extraordinary career that eventually took Simmons from the statehouse in Hartford to three terms in Congress. In 2009, he was the favorite to topple Sen. Chris Dodd.
Now, instead of...