“His check only votes once.” That’s what Dan Bongino, congressional candidate in Maryland’s 6th district said of his opponent, who also happens to be the sixth wealthiest member of Congress.
In between campaign stops yesterday, I was able to catch up with Bongino on the phone to discuss his progress as we rapidly approach election day in just under two months. Naturally, I first asked him about what is too often the primary driver in politics: Money.
Despite the economic disparity between the two candidates, Bongino seemed comfortable with how the finances have played out during the campaign.
He can write himself a check for ten million dollars but it only votes once. We have tens of thousands of donors, many of which are within the district in Maryland… Those are people who I know are not only going to show up, but they’re gonna get 10 friends as well.
If you look at individual donors — take out the PAC stuff — we are just wiping the floor with him in fundraising… At one point we even quadrupled what he was bringing in, in individual donations. He’s in a lot of trouble, and he knows it now.
Bongino has drawn national attention to a race that might have been considered a lock for the Democrats had anyone else’s name been next the (R) on the ballot. But Bongino, a former Secret Service Agent and NYPD Officer with a background in boxing and mixed-martial arts (MMA), brings a fighter’s mentality to the race, along with a profile that is refreshingly unique when compared with his wealthy Democrat opponent.
In the few years since Bongino retired from the Secret Service and began running for office, more and more people have begun to take notice. Indeed, thanks in part to Bongino’s local campaign efforts, as well as his success in the national media, he suffers no deficit in name recognition to his incumbent opponent.
That said, Bongino’s luster in the national media has failed to translate to any substantive local media attention.
The [local] media has just completely blacked us out. Yet we have managed to out-fundraise the President of the Freshman class of Democrats, one of the wealthiest members in Congress. For a year now we’ve out-fundraised this guy. Not one story.
Not to be put off pace on account of local media bias, Bongino achieves voter engagement the old-fashioned way: Going door to door with an army of volunteers. He told me he has a daily goal of 50 doors and 100 voter interactions. The strategy appears to be doing well, as his fundraising numbers suggest.
All fundraising aside, however, there’s a compete lack of recent polling to pull from. This is due, in large part, to the fact that many of the big “election prophesiers” have paid short shrift to this race all along. But a lack of polling — or even bad polling, for that matter — by no means indicates problems on the ground for Bongino (I’m sure Eric Cantor can vouch for this).
In two months, we will know for sure whether Bongino can turn Maryland a bit more purple with a win in the 6th district. With a recent Rasmussen poll showing a mere 25% of Americans think the country is on the right track, perhaps Marylanders are warming up to the idea a change of pace. After promising to “cede no ground” in Maryland, Bongino appears poised to be at the helm of that wave of change.
For his part, Bongino is confident. “I know we’re going to win this thing,” he said. If his recent appearance at FreePAC Kentucky indicates nothing else, it indicates this: He’s ready.
All Bongino needs now is the go-ahead from the people. After campaigning for this seat for well over a year, he knows that it’s crunch time. Once he got off the phone with me, Bongino was off to a quick stop at a local outdoor concert to finish meeting his daily quota: 50 handshakes, 100 voter interactions.DONATE
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