People are starting to take notice of the man we’ve been paying attention to in Maryland for a while – the man who will be the next US Senator, Dan Bongino. Here’s what’s being said:
Incumbent Democrat Ben Cardin begins as a heavy favorite in deep-blue state, but keep an eye on Daniel Bongino, a former U.S. Secret Service agent. Note that Cardin has never been a particularly charismatic candidate and his approval ratings are unspectacular. Bongino will be financially outgunned in a state predisposed to return Democrats year after year, but on a debate stage, he could easily prove to be the more appealing candidate.
Self-sacrifice for patriotism is part of the narrative his campaign is trying to build as Bongino, a political novice, tries to unseat U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a popular Democrat with 25 years in Congress and a $1.9 million campaign chest. Bongino’s fundraising tally is measured in thousands of dollars in a state so blue he calculates at least 20 percent of all Democrats must cast a ballot for him to win.
Part of his strategy, he said, relies on his ability to remain authentic. And the way Bongino tells it, he walked away from a 12-year career in the Secret Service and the pension that went with it not because his knees ached from a decade of intense training or the 300 days a year he spent on the road while his wife, Paula, and 8-year-old daughter Isabel were at home. If he doesn’t win, he’ll consider starting a business. Or he’ll accept all the private security work he said he’s been turning away during the campaign. The family has been surviving on savings, letting their other two small business go mostly dormant while Bongino and his wife focus on politicking…A year ago, his Severna Park neighbors were losing their jobs, fretting about rising gas prices and whether they could make mortgage payments. Bongino’s life was insulated from that — a federally issued Impala and gas card came with a government paycheck he’d only lose if he went berserk on the job. His wife ran a successful web design company.
It didn’t seem right, Bongino said, for a kid who grew up “on cheerios and bologna,” hopping neighborhoods in New York City in search of ever cheaper apartments, to have insulated himself.
“There was no financial penalty to my life,” he said. When he heard his neighbors bearing the brunt the recession, he said, he wanted to feel that too.
Cardin needs to find out why 25 percent of voting Democrats opted for someone else. Cardin was weakest in Baltimore City, Charles County and Prince George’s — clearly suggesting a weakness with African American voters. The lesson to learn for Tydings is that Cardin cannot take for granted that folks who turn out in November to vote for President Obama will vote for Cardin as well. Cardin is the clear favorite to win, but there is an opening for the GOP nominee Daniel Bongino.
One month to the day before his 11th anniversary with the U.S. Secret Service—also the day his wife, Paula, announced she was pregnant with their second child—he resigned from his job while announcing he was going to run for the U.S. Senate. It was May 21, 2011, and he was serving for President Obama. Leaving the secret service detail wasn’t a political decision, but a personal one.
“I left the Baltimore field office, not the president,” he said. “I miss it everyday, it was a wonderful job.”
Bongino missed getting his pension by 30 days.
“I knew I was doing the right thing, good old-fashioned politics and I had good people behind me,” he said of giving up the prestigious and stable career to run for the U.S. Senate. “Because I really believe in what I’m doing, the story is the story.”
With a volunteer base that grew to 1,100 in about a year and three full-time staffers, he is now gearing up for round two of campaigning. The first stop will be opening day at Camden Yards on Friday where he will stand outside and wave and talk to people. He also does the same outside of the Ravens home games and at Metro stations, as do his volunteers, many of whom he said, became volunteers after meeting him at these campaign stops.
Check the links for more. Bongino is being noticed and will continue to get noticed in this election. He’s a solid candidate against an uninspiring incumbent. Real change is coming to Maryland.