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Dan Bongino, a Republican candidate for Senate in Maryland, picked up the endorsement Monday of Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.

Lee, a Tea Party favorite, knocked off incumbent Sen. Robert Bennett in the 2010 election, an upset that was among the first examples of long-time lawmakers losing to new, conservative challengers.

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"As a party and as a movement, we must believe in the right candidate, someone with an unquestionable passion and a deep conviction that will transcend any political persuasion," Lee said in a statement.

Bongino, of Severna Park, is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who announced his candidacy in May. If he wins the GOP nomination, he would face incumbent Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in the general election.

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