By Paul Bremmer
One day after the election, Republican Dan Bongino, a candidate for Maryland’s 6th U.S. congressional district, finds himself unable to celebrate but not ready to give up, either.
He’s trailing incumbent Democrat Rep. John Delaney by some 2,000 votes.
But there are 5,800 absentee ballots yet to be counted in what has turned out to be one of the closest races in the nation.
Delaney already has said he won.
But Bongino isn’t walking away until all the votes are tabulated.
“Listen, we fought hard for every vote, and we fought hard to get where we are right now, and after a year-and-a-half, I think I at least deserve to have people’s votes counted,” Bongino told WND in a telephone interview.
According to the Baltimore Sun, 2,525 of the outstanding absentee ballots are from Democrats and 2,497 are from Republicans, with 825 from people unaffiliated with either party. Therefore, Bongino’s chances of closing the 2,000-vote gap may not be likely.
He realizes that.
“I don’t want to spin anybody’s wheels,” he said. “I’m not saying there’s a likely probability of victory in this, but we at least deserve at this point to have every vote count and see where we stand.”
Bongino, the New York Times bestselling author of “Life Inside the Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away from It All,” ran in a district that had been redrawn after the 2010 Census to include more Democratic-leaning areas of the state.
The district had been represented by Republican Roscoe Bartlett for 20 years, but in 2012, the first election after redistricting, Bartlett lost to Delaney by 21 points.
In addition, Delaney is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. His personal fortune allowed him to vastly outspend Bongino in this race.
And yet, Bongino battled to within one percentage point. The Republican was proud of having overcome those factors.
“I think it shows the power of what a grassroots campaign can do when you really believe in you,” Bongino said. “And listen, there’s only one gold medal in the end, and it clearly right now is not ours, but there are lessons to be taken from this, I think, for both sides.”
Bongino may not be entering Congress himself, but he has advice for the many Republicans who were elected this year.
“I think what the members of the establishment GOP have to be very careful to do is to stick to the conservative principles they ran on, because I’m getting tired of our people in the grassroots showing up to elect establishment types after the primaries, but then seeing them turn around and savage us after we win,” he said.
Bongino also is upset that the GOP establishment did nothing to help push him over the top in this race.
“I mean, I got no help at all,” he said. “No one lifted a finger from the national party, NRCC, nothing to help me in this race. It would have switched this race, I have no doubt, if we just had a minor investment in this district. But it just seems like they don’t want – they would rather lose than have independent thinkers like me in there. And that’s really the shame of it.”
Published by WND Books, “Life Inside the Bubble” tells the story of Bongino’s experiences inside the Washington, D.C., “matrix” – including within the inner sanctum of the White House – and shows readers why a government filled with some very dedicated people nevertheless continues to make tragic and perhaps fatal mistakes.
Bongino’s book has been endorsed by several commentators and public figures, including talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and former Rep. Allen West.
Bongino began his career in law enforcement with the NYPD in 1995. He joined the ranks of the Secret Service in 1999 as a special agent where he was assigned to investigate financial crimes. In 2006, he entered into duty with the elite Presidential Protective Division in the administration of President George W. Bush and remained on protective duty during the change in administration to President Barack Obama. He resigned from the Secret Service in 2011 to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Maryland.
Hear Bongino at a recent appearance: