WASHINGTON -- Republican Daniel Bongino, the former Secret Service agent who ran an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate last year, said Tuesday he is "95 percent" certain he will run in Maryland's 6th Congressional District in the 2014 election and recently filed federal paperwork allowing him to raise money for that race.
Bongino, a 38-year-old Severna Park man, was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Maryland last year. He captured 26 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin, despite a spirited campaign that frequently landed him on national television and established the first-time politico as a rising star in the state party.
The 6th District, currently represented by Democratic Rep. John Delaney, includes solidly Democratic portions of Montgomery and Frederick counties as well as Republican strongholds in Western Maryland.
"It was an obvious choice for us," said Bongino, who previously had also been considered a potential candidate for governor and Anne Arundel County executive. "We did extremely well in Western Maryland. Our volunteer team up there was one of the strongest in the state."
Bongino filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on June 5 to allow him to raise money for a 6th District contest. He has scheduled a press conference Tuesday in Frederick to announce his decision.
If Bongino ultimately jumps in, though, he will automatically be considered an underdog. Delaney trounced Republican incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett last year, 59 percent to 38 percent. Many Republicans quietly say Delaney's significant fundraising -- which included millions of his own money -- would probably freeze out potential GOP challengers.
Bongino responded by saying that money isn't everything.
"The richest guy doesn't always win the race. If he did, we'd be calling Rob Sobhani 'senator,'" Bongino said in reference to the third-party businessman who spent millions of his own money in the 2012 Senate election to come in third place.
Still, running against an incumbent is always an uphill battle and that will be especially true in the 6th, which was redrawn in 2011 by Democrats in Annapolis as part of the statewide congressional redistricting. Growth in the Washington suburbs means the district will become more Democratic with time, not less.
Cardin captured 111,415 votes on Election Day in the 6th District compared with 89,007 for Bongino. Those numbers do not include absentee and early voting. President Barack Obama carried the district last year with more than 55 percent of the vote.
There is also the issue of residency. Bongino lives in Anne Arundel County. Bongino responds by noting that Delaney also lives outside the district -- an issue the Democrat was frequently criticized for during last year's campaign. Delaney's home in Potomac sits about two-tenths of a mile outside the district line.
A spokesman for the state Democratic Party declined to comment.
Bongino spent four years with the New York City Police Department before joining the Secret Service, where he served on the presidential protection detail. He left the agency in 2011 to run for Senate.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun