By Paul Bremmer
Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent for President Obama, says that with only days until the election, he and his team have done all they can to win Maryland’s Sixth District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he believes he could be “on the verge of a huge upset.”
“I can comfortably tell you right now there is nothing we could have done to work harder,” Bongino said. “I just got back yesterday from Montgomery County, in the pouring rain. It was 40 degrees. I’m sick as a dog right now, and I’m driving in the western Maryland mountains, getting ready to wash, rinse and repeat, so there’s no more effort we could have given.”
Bongino said if elected, he will make the federal government’s tax-and-spend policies his No. 1 issue.
“Our economy is being suffocated right now by a government that absolutely thinks it can spend your money better than you can,” he said.
In his 2013 New York Times bestselling book “Life Inside the Bubble,” Bongino wrote about the failure of the massive federal bureaucracy to effectively deal with problems.
He said the government needs to adopt the policies that have allowed corporations and small businesses to become more efficient. Don’t worry about hurting some constituents, he says – all constituents are being hurt, because the federal government is going bankrupt.
“If we don’t start to de-layer this layered bureaucracy, you’re going to see a government, sooner or later, that’s not going to be accountable for anything,” he said.
Incumbent Democrat Rep. John Delaney won the district by 21 points two years ago, but Bongino said he’s hopeful heading into the final few days.
“You know, everybody expected we’d put up a tough fight, but I don’t think at this point in the race, they thought we would be on the verge of a huge upset, which we are,” Bongino said.
He said donations are still flowing in and volunteers are still signing up to help the campaign.
Bongino is not new to the world of campaigning. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012 but was unsuccessful in his attempt to unseat Democratic incumbent Ben Cardin. He said he learned plenty of lessons from that defeat, such as the value of knocking on doors and making direct contact with voters. He learned the importance of finding good vendors and business partners.
Most of all, Bongino learned to just be himself. He said he writes all of his own social media updates and most of his campaign emails.
“So it’s my voice, it’s what’s going on in my head, it’s where I’m at, not necessarily a middle man, and it resonates,” he said. “The proof is in the pudding. We developed a really large social media following, an incredible donor list.”
He offers this advice: “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking everything has to be said in a quick sound bite, because people are willing to listen if you’re willing to provide good content and good ideas.”
Maryland is a reliably Democratic state at the federal level. Obama won 62 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential election, and the state has not voted for a Republican for president since 1988.
Maryland hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1980. However, Bongino said it’s actually not difficult for him to be a Republican in the state because he has an independent voice.
“No one can ever accuse me, credibly, of being some party apparatchik,” he said. “I’ve been willing to go after Republicans on issues I thought they took the wrong tack on,” such as illegal immigration.
The candidate said he has knocked on many Democrats’ doors in liberal parts of the state and rarely received a negative response.
When asked about media treatment of his campaign, Bongino said he has no complaints with the national media. He said both left-leaning and right-leaning outlets have told his story and allowed him to speak on a variety of issues.
However, he said some local media outlets have been blatantly biased against him. He thinks they do a disservice not just to the public but to themselves when they show bias.
“That’s why they’re dying,” Bongino said. “They’re dying a slow, painful death, because people don’t see them as being straight shooters and truth tellers, which, ironically, whether you agree or disagree with me politically, very few people accuse me of not being honest with them about where I stand.”