After failed Senate bid, Bongino weighs gubernatorial run -- Gazette.Net



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Daniel Bongino might not have succeeded in his bid for U.S. Senate, but a 2014 gubernatorial run is not out of the question, he said.

Bongino (R) said he and his wife will discuss whether he should enter the Maryland gubernatorial race.

“I honestly don’t know,” said Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who drew the endorsement of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in his Senate race.

U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) was re-elected to a second term with 55.4 percent of the vote to Bongino’s 26.7 percent and Independent Rob Sobhani’s 16.6 percent.

Bongino of Severna Park said he holds several advantages over other potential Republican candidates should he decide to run.

“We did build a formidable organization,” Bongino said, adding that 3,000 volunteers from across the state had joined his campaign.

Although other Republicans have been mentioned as possible candidates in the 2014 race, none has the statewide name recognition of Bongino or Sobhani, said Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Sobhani spokesman Sam Patten said after the election that no decision had been made about future office bids. This was his third unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate, including two unsuccessful Republican primary campaigns.

With Democrats dominating every statewide office and the two U.S. Senate and seven of the eight House of Representatives seats, the Maryland Republican Party does not have a lot of potential candidates to put up for governor in 2014 with the name recognition that Bongino was able to build, said Michael O’Loughlin, a political science professor at Salisbury University.

“Off the top of my head, I don’t have another name,” O’Loughlin said. “The fact no name comes to mind suggests there’s a very short bench, if any bench at all, for the Republican Party.”

Although a wealthy business person could enter the race and spend millions as Sobhani did in the Senate race, that does not mean they will be successful because politics requires coalition building, O’Loughlin said.

State Sen. David Brinkley (R-Carroll, Frederick) said many Republicans will be re-evaluating whether they want to run in 2014 after seeing the Nov. 6 election results, which disappointed many in the party.

“Dan made good inroads in parts of the state with his first run, but whether or not there’s the knowledge and wherewithal to address state politics, state financial issues is yet to be seen,” Brinkley said. “He is an attractive candidate, and he ran hard.”

Bongino called his Senate try an educational experience and said if he runs again, he will do things differently.

“I would have focused more heavily on the fundraising early,” Bongino said. “We weren’t able to do it. When you’re running as an outsider in the political process, you have to build from scratch.

“We had to earn money the old-fashioned way, asking people at events to give. That’s a very slow way to raise funds,” he said.

Bongino also built his name recognition through frequent appearances on Fox News, but he said he also accepted all invitations from the much more liberal MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews.

“I don’t avoid ideological dialogues with people,” Bongino said.

cford@gazette.net