Bongino confirms bid for Congress rather than Maryland governor

Former Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino confirmed Saturday that he will not seek the Republican nomination for Maryland governor next year but instead run for Congress.

Bongino, his party’s nominee for U.S. Senate last year, told a convention of Young Maryland Republicans that he now has his eye on the 6th District seat that Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) wrested from former Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.). Bongino said he will formally announce his bid June 18.

“I’m not running for governor, by the way. I’ll announce that here,” he told the gathering in Rockville. “We’re going to take back Roscoe’s seat. We never should have lost that seat.”

The long-serving Bartlett became far more vulnerable last year after the Democratic-led state legislature redrew his district, increasing the percentage of Democratic voters.

Bongino said he was confident that he could have won the GOP nomination in what is shaping up as a crowded race to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

But, he said, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” He called news of his congressional bid, which had started to leak in recent days, “probably the worst kept secret” in Maryland politics.

Bongino currently resides well outside the 6th District — in Severna Park — but told The Washington Post he is considering “a property acquisition” in the district he would like to represent. Members of Congress are not required to live in their districts.

Five other Republicans who remain interested in running for governor also addressed Saturday’s convention, including Harford County Executive David R. Craig. He plans to officially kick off his 2014 campaign on Monday.

Other potential gubernatorial candidates who spoke to the group included Blaine R. Young, president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners; Charles Lollar, a businessman who ran unsuccessfully for the 5th Congressional District seat in 2010; Brian Vaeth, a retired Baltimore firefighter who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate last year; and Meyer Marks, a political activist from Montgomery County.

William H. Campbell, the 2010 Republican nominee for Maryland comptroller, also told the group Saturday that he will seek a rematch against the current officeholder, Peter Franchot.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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