Independent U.S. Senate candidate Rob Sobhani managed to unite Democrats and Republicans on one issue — complaints about what they call deceptive campaign tactics by the candidate.
Republican candidate Daniel Bongino filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commmission on Monday over a robo-call from the Sobhani campaign that Bongino claimed lacked the required information identifying the campaign behind the call and who paid for it.
Bongino, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, said that it is too late for the FEC to take action about the robo-calls before the election, but he would continue to pursue the matter regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election as a matter of principle.
Sobhani campaign spokesman Sam Patten said the robo-calls were made with the required notices at the beginning and end. It was possible they were left off by the company making the calls for the campaign or that a Bongino supporter cut them off from the voicemail recording to embarrass the Sobhani campaign, Patten said.
“They’re panicked [that] they’re going to lose their base and Bongino will come in third,” Patten said.
The call, which is narrated by a woman named Mary who calls herself a conservative Republican, says she is voting for the real conservative in the race, Sobhani. The call goes on to claim Bongino does not support English as the official language. Bongino said he does support the issue.
“You know, we conservatives can finally beat Ben Cardin if we vote for the real conservative in this race,” the message says. “So don’t waste your vote. Let’s elect a real conservative. Elect Rob Sobhani for U.S. Senate.”
Democrats joined the Bongino campaign in criticizing the calls and said Sobhani has taken different positions on issues depending on the audience he is addressing.
In Prince George’s County, the Sobhani campaign released a voter guide with President Barack Obama on the cover that urged people to vote for Obama for president and Sobhani for U.S. Senate. In addition, Sobhani has released radio ads with Cardin’s former Senate primary opponent in 2006 that criticized Beltway politics in general.
Democrats said both ads were intended to mislead party voters into believing Kweisi Mfume, Cardin’s opponent six years ago, and Obama support Sobhani; they both endorsed Cardin.
“We may disagree with Dan Bongino on the issues, but we know where he stands on the issues,” said Maryland Democratic Party spokesman Matt Verghese.
Maryland Democrats would not be filing a complaint with the FEC over the calls because the Bongino camp already had done so, he said.
“Even though we’re calling out Sobhani on his tactics, we remain very confident in a Senator Cardin victory,” Verghese said.