May 31, 2011
A former U.S. Secret Service agent from Severna Park who has served on President Barack Obama’s protective detail announced Tuesday he will seek the Republican nomination for Senate in Maryland.
Daniel Bongino, 36, who spent four years with the New York City Police Department before joining the Secret Service, said he felt compelled to leave his career in law enforcement because he feels the current political leadership in Washington is putting the country on the wrong path.
If he wins the GOP nomination, Bongino would likely face incumbent Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in November.
“We’re doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result,” Bongino said in an interview, adding that he would make education and the economy the focus of his campaign. “I hate labels, but I do tend to take the conservative position on economic issues because that’s what works.”
Bongino’s campaign will be chaired by Brian Murphy, who ran a conservative challenge to Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for the Republican gubernatorial nomination last year.
Bongino, who moved to Severna Park in 2002, said he is not intimidated by Maryland’s reputation as a blue state, or the Democrats’ two-to-one advantage in voter enrollment. Political observers, including the non-partisan Cook Political Report, predict that Cardin’s seat is safe for Democrats.
“Maryland’s not the blue state that everybody thinks it is,” Bongino said. “It’s hard to say conservatives can’t win if we’ve never run a real conservative.”
Bongino said he resigned from the Secret Service May 21 to think about running. Though the agency is fiercely non-political, Bongino would not be the first special agent to run for statewide office. Todd Lamb, the Republican lieutenant governor of Oklahoma, was also a former special agent.