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RNC Chair Michael Steele raising money in Noank

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele will be the guest of honor Thursday evening at a party fundraiser at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough in Noank.

And helping out with the event will be former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, who lives in nearby Stonington and remains on the party's primary ballot for the U.S. Senate, despite having halted his campaign after losing out on the party endorsement to former WWE CEO Linda McMahon.

Reached on his cell phone on Wednesday afternoon, Simmons was upbeat, and said he'd been happy to "volunteer to assist in bringing some folks to the event. It's practically in my backyard."

Simmons will co-host the event with the Mears family, which owns Abbott's. And he’s not worried about running into McMahon, with whom Simmons was engaged in a divisive primary fight.

"I have heard that she may be there, which is fine," Simmons said. "The more the merrier."

Simmons said he’s "honored and flattered" by Republicans who have urged him to rejoin the Senate race. But the campaign has folded up shop, he said.

"I'm on the ballot," Simmons said, with a chuckle. "Come on over to the headquarters and you'll find it's quite empty these days. Sad, but true."

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