Dan Bongino, Maryland’s Republican Candidate for the US Senate, wants Independent Rob Sobhani out of the race.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

No kidding. In a recent Gonzales Research statewide poll, incumbent Ben Cardin got support from 50% of the 813 respondents, versus Dan Bongino’s 22% and Rob Sobhani’s 21%. Add the two latter numbers together, you get 43% with 7% undecided, and Dan Bongino’s thinking he’d be within striking range if this were only a two-candidate race.

And so, the Bongino campaign is doing what it can to discourage voters from supporting Rob Sobhani’s candidacy, including the following email that the campaign sent out this afternoon. (Click on the image to make it larger.)

Note that the email, which was from a “Deputy Campaign Manager,” impugned Rob Sobhani’s integrity by virtue of the contractor he is said to have hired to collect signatures. Personally, I think that, if Dan Bongino, or any candidate, has something to say about the integrity of his opponent, he or she should make that statement personally, as face-to-face as possible.

I, in turn, replied to the campaign with the following email. (Once again, you can click on the image to make it larger.) My question about a debate goes to the point that neither the Bongino or Cardin campaigns want to include Rob Sobhani in a debate between the two major party candidates. Truth be told, incumbent Ben Cardin has nothing to gain from debating Dan Bongino. Why should he debate either one of his opponents?

I’ll publish the campaign’s response as soon as I receive it, unedited and unabridged, as promised.

In any case, Dan Bongino’s logic is flawed, more wishful thinking than reality. According to the Gonzales poll and despite having campaigned for months, while Rob Sobhani only entered the race on September 4, Dan Bongino showed support from only 60% of Republicans. He’s their standard bearer, and only 60% of them support his candidacy? Only 4% of Democrats? Only 10% of Independents? The fact is, for whatever reasons, Dan Bongino’s campaign has not caught on, is no where in the vicinity of catching fire.

The announcement, in a second email today, that the Bongino campaign has collected third-quarter contributions totaling $650,000 is good news for the campaign, although the claim that this is a record breaking accomplishment is unsubstantiated and suspect. (From the campaign email announcement, “Preliminary estimates show the Bongino for Senate campaign’s 3rd quarter haul beats the previous quarterly totals of any Republican or incumbent running for federal office in Maryland this election cycle.”)

Money certainly helps sell a candidate provided, of course, his or her message is compelling. The problem with Dan Bongino’s campaign is less about Rob Sobhani, than it is about the impression Dan Bongino has made, or failed to make on likely voters.

-Next Contestant

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7 thoughts on “Dan Bongino, Maryland’s Republican Candidate for the US Senate, wants Independent Rob Sobhani out of the race.

  1. Hey Les great article, you really hit the spot. Looking forward to that response.
    Bongino’s campaign has recently turned into a desperate attempt to smear Sobhani. They no longer want to win, they just don’t want to be third place so they’re trying to bring Sobhani down with them. You should take a look at Bongino’s Twitter, his supporters and even the candidate himself are spreading lies, saying that Sobhani is more left wing than Cardin, will increase taxes, isn’t American, is being paid by Cardin, and wants bigger government. Where did they get that impression ? Dirty tricks from a party that hasn’t come to terms with why it’s only at 22%.
    All of this is making Cardin, the real target all opposition should be united against, safer in his seat.
    I want to see a clean race, Cardin for now has been respectful of that, he’s a good man (mostly because he doesn’t feel threatened), not a dirty one that creates an atmosphere of hate and suspicion which Bongino is promoting. It’s sickening. Talk about issues !
    Finally you’re right, get Sobhani in the debates instead of talking behind his back.


    P.S. Sobhani isn’t a third party, he’s unaffiliated. “Capitol Hill job” I havent heard of that have you ? Bongino for god’s sake was a government employee his whole career ! He also touts that he’s a successful small business owner but I don’t know anything about his business.

    • Hey. It’s interesting, from an academic point of view. What we’re seeing is the reaction of an inexperienced candidate and campaign organization that’s reacting to adversity in an immature, petulant way.

      I once made the point that Dan is running more of a crusade than a campaign, too long on rhetoric that doesn’t have widespread appeal in Maryland, even inside the Republican Party, too short on substantive arguments and suggestions. Forgetting for a moment about the inaccuracy of some of his campaign’s assertions, I don’t think he knows how to react to Rob Sobhani’s candidacy.

      On that point, you’re precisely right. The way to pull out a respectable second place finish, which is the minimum Dan needs to assure himself some political future, is not to demean Rob Sobhani. Quite to the contrary, he should be publicly embracing any candidate whose popular appeal confirms the need to replace Ben Cardin.

      The strategy he should be implementing, and should have been all along, is to go after Ben Cardin. And by “after,” I’m not suggesting loud, obnoxious or misleading, if not outright dishonest advertising. Senator Cardin’s legislative record and campaign financing, when explained to prospective voters in level-headed, professional terms with constructive comments and suggestions, are more than enough to get soft Cardin supporters to reconsider their vote. Unfortunately, that’s not where Dan Bongino is taking his campaign.

      When you think about it, Rob Sobhani may have done Dan Bongino a favor in two ways. However poor the results, Dan can always lament that there were two Republicans in the race against a single Democrat incumbent. More to the point, he can learn an honest lesson from his loss and come back two years from now, running for Congress or some other local office, with a more popular political philosophy and more effective organization.

      Thanks for stopping by, Stef. Always a pleasure.

      -Next Gontestant

  2. It’s interesting that they want to vet Sobhani so bad, yet after a bit of research last night, I think that they barely even vetted their own candidate. Here are some concerns I have with Bongino:

    – He was born in NY, since when has he lived in Maryland ? On his Wiki page it seems to say that he moved to Maryland in 2002. That would mean that he’s lived in the State for only 10 years ?
    – He’s 37 years old, and would become the current youngest member of the Senate by around 2 years. Median age of senators 63 years, median age taking office 51 years.
    – He touts his successful business career yet when I look up one of his companies: “a small business leader in the production and sale of mixed martial arts footwear” Friction MMA, I can’t find anything online, just several dead links even though the company existed for 4 years and 8 months.
    – He argues that he’s middle class which somehow makes him more qualified ? He’s pretty upper middle class. He made 150k a year working for the secret service, on top of income from his “successful businesses” and his wife, as someone in the middle class I’d be happy to be making that much. The first Google search for middle class income came up with “$36,000 – $57,657”. Wiki says Bongino may well be in the top 15.93 percentile who make $100,000 or more (2005).
    – He keeps saying that he’s an outsider, yet he was a government employee in DC, paid by our taxes, for close to 17 years.
    – I’d be curious to know if he was in anyway involved in the sex scandals that hit the Secret Service recently, he must have been a witness in his 12 years of service to something, what about his brothers involvement ?

    Everyone deserves to be vetted.

    Almost missed your recent article on the Gazette, good job !


    • Hey. Dan’s age doesn’t bother me. To be honest, it’s the older Congressmen/women and Senators, the ones, like Ben Cardin, who have become entrenched in the Washington political system and whose ideas are stale and creatively low, about whom I am more concerned.

      What counts is ideas and the ability to implement them. The problem with Dan is not his age, per se, but the nature of his experience — and the impact of that experience on the solutions he is promoting.

      This is not a campaign about personal freedom. Most Marylanders, myself included, do not think that our individual freedoms are on the line here. What we have, in more practical terms that a broader base of likely voters can appreciate, is a debate between alternative views of the relationship between our federal government and the economy. Dan shouldn’t read anything more into that debate than its day-to-day, kitchen table implications.

      If Dan wonders why the Gonzales poll shows him with only 4% of the Democrat portion of the sample, it’s because he’s selling the wrong message. It’s off point politically and, even worse, in terms of the real economic and fiscal problems we’re all struggling to resolve.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      -Next Contestant

  3. Yawn. Split the dissenters and we get 6 more years of Cardin. Thanks, Next Contestant.

    • Hi. Do I detect a touch of sarcasm in your comment?

      Sure, it’s next to impossible to unseat a long-term, very well funded Democrat incumbent in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2:1, even with just one opponent, let alone with two.

      It can be done, just not with Bongino and Sobhani. For whatever reasons, neither of them has been willing to go after Senator Cardin, preferring instead to offer little more than commonplace political rhetoric that fails to give prospective voters a solid reason to vote Senator Cardin out and them in.

      Six years is a long time. (I’ll probably be bald by then.)

      -Next Contestant