By Paul Bremmer
Ex-Secret Service agent Dan Bongino poured all the effort he could into his Republican campaign for Maryland’s 6th congressional district, coming within a percentage point of his Democrat opponent despite overwhelming odds in one of the bluest of states.
He estimates his team knocked on more than 28,700 doors in a year-and-a-half of campaigning, and Bongino himself knocked on more than 7,000 doors. But he conceded the election to incumbent Rep. John Delaney, after the initial absentee ballot count made it clear Delaney’s 49.6 percent of the vote would hold up over Bongino’s 48.4 percent.
The close loss has Bongino thinking about what could have been.
“When I say ‘what could have been,’ I just wonder if the national party could have gotten behind us at the last minute,” Bongino said.
“In the end, I think not having at least some help from people in the national party really hurt us.”
The candidate said he understands why the national Republican Party offered no support at the onset of his campaign.
He was thought to have little chance to win. But when Delaney started pumping money into his own campaign at the end, it should have been a sign that the race was close, and a boost of RNC support might have put Bongino over the top.
However, what annoyed Bongino even more was the silent treatment his campaign received from the local media.
“They just ignored us,” he said. “They just decided that they were going to determine the outcome of the race and not act as journalists and give the people the information they needed to make that decision themselves.”
“I think we showed everyone in Maryland that there are fights to be had here and to never give up,” he said.
Bongino said the No. 1 lesson he learned from his campaign was the power of good old-fashioned shoe leather. He believes he flipped many Democrat voters to his side by knocking on their doors and speaking to them face-to-face.
“If you commit to a year-and-a-half of shoe leather door knocking, it matters. I mean, it really matters,” he said.
Now that the campaign is over, Bongino is thinking about writing another book, a practical guide on how to change politics for the better. His first book, the 2013 New York Times bestselling “Life Inside the Bubble,” helped increase his name recognition among national as well as local conservatives, Bongino told WND.
He said he has learned over time how to be “that guy” – someone who regularly calls his local elected officials to tell them what he thinks. He wants to encourage other citizens to follow suit.
Even though he will not be heading to Congress in 2015, Bongino plans to stay active in politics.
“Elections aren’t the end; they’re the beginning, and that’s for me too,” he said. “The outcome has been determined; we’re ready to move on, but this doesn’t end my voice and my role in politics at all.”