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Dan Bongino running for Congress -- in Florida

Dan Bongino running for Congress -- in Florida
Dan Bongino speaks with supporters at a campaign picnic in Davidsonville. Bongino, of Severn, used to be a Secret Service agent. (Laura-Chase McGehee / The Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Dan Bongino, the Republican former Secret Service agent who nearly toppled incumbent Democratic Rep. John Delaney two years ago, announced Monday that he is seeking an open House seat in South Florida.

Bongino, a frequent host on conservative radio programs who managed to raise about $1.5 million in 2014, will run in Florida's 19th District, where incumbent Rep. Curt Clawson, a Republican, announced last month he would retire.

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Bongino was a compelling figure in Maryland politics for several years, both enlivening and confounding the state's GOP establishment. With a national following and a fiery stump speech, Bongino set his sights high and picked exceedingly difficult races -- such as his run against incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin in 2012.

He surprised many in the state by coming within 3,000 votes of Delaney in Maryland's 6th District. The outcome put Delaney on notice that the 6th District, redrawn in 2011 to favor Democrats, still has the potential to swing. Bongino recently wrote a book about his experiences.

Bongino, who moved to Florida last year, has been widely expected to jump at the open seat. He created an exploratory committee this month. He briefly considered running for Senate in the state last year.

"I am the only candidate in this race who is a 'no excuses,' rock-ribbed, conservative committed to sweeping D.C. clean," Bongino said Monday in an email to supporters.

Bongino faces Francis Rooney, a former Bush administration ambassador to the Holy See, and businessman Chauncey Goss, in an Aug. 30 Republican primary.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified one of Dan Bongino's opponents in the Republican primary.

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