Conservative leader Dan Bongino, an ally of former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., has moved to Florida and is considering running for the congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., who is trying for the U.S. Senate in 2016.
Im entertaining the possibility, Bongino told Sunshine State News about entering the congressional race. Im considering it.
A former New York City cop and Secret Service agent, Bongino was the Republican candidate who challenged U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., in 2012. Cardin routed Bongino, taking 55 percent while the Republican won only 27 percent of the vote and independent Rob Sobhani carried 17 percent.
Later, Bongino shocked the political world and almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the election cycle when he lost to U.S. Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., by a narrow margin in a district where the Democrats have the advantage.
Since then, Bongino and his family moved from Maryland to Palm City on Florida's Treasure Coast -- and promptly started getting asked questions about his political future. Bongino told Sunshine State News he answered questions about how the move impacted his electoral ambitions, saying he was more focused on moving to a town instead of a congressional district.Im not moving to CD 18, Bongino said he would answer those questions. Im moving to Palm City. Theres a big difference.
Bongino said family matters, which determined his move to Florida, would play a large role in his decision-making about running for Congress. But, Bongino added, if he enters the race, he will unleash unmatched grassroots efforts.
No one will supersede the effort, Bongino told Sunshine State News, pointing to how his grassroots outreach almost led to an upset win over Delaney. I know exactly how to do this.
Bongino also showcased his Battleground Resistance PAC to help conservative candidates run for federal office.
In 2014, I ran for the United States Congress, in a race the experts, and the media, declared uncompetitive.' Despite the lack of support from the Washington, D.C., establishment, thanks to you (the grassroots), and my team's relentless work ethic, we came within a point of pulling off the biggest congressional upset in the country, Bongino noted on his PACs website. After that night, I pledged never to let another quality candidate lose a race because I stood on the sidelines.
Bongino told Sunshine State News that Battleground Resistance will help conservatives who are opposed to the anti-D.C., insider crowd run for office, adding the PAC will back really exceptional candidates change politics.
Theyre not willing to genuflect before the Golden Calf of the establishment, Bongino said of the conservatives Battleground Resistance will back, adding that he has a few candidates for 2016 on the radar screen.
Looking back at his previous bids for office, Bongino said he was astounded by how early West backed him through his Guardian Fund PAC. While Murphy narrowly beat him in 2012, West, a favorite of the tea party movement, remained active and endorsed Bonginos congressional efforts in October 2013, more than a year before the election.For his part, Bongino spoke at an event West held in South Florida in the spring of 2014.
West offered Bongino praise and support during the 2014 campaign. In January 2014, West emailed supporters to highlight the congressional candidate and praise his record.
Dan served in the elite Secret Service Presidential Protection Division under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama," West wrote. During his time protecting Obama, Dan witnessed some things that deeply disturbed him, and ultimately motivated him to seek office. Now he's speaking out and in turn, he's receiving a whole host of criticism and baseless attacks.
Dan Bongino is a true American hero, West added. He put his life on the line to protect two presidents, and I have no doubt he'll guard our conservative values and the Constitution with the same valor.
Bongino has remained busy since losing in November. He hosts radio shows, including filling in for Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, and has his own podcast. Bongino told Sunshine State News he will have a new book out in the months to come. In 2013, Bonginos Life Inside the Bubble, an account of his time with the Secret Service, was a bestseller.
If he runs, Bongino could face a crowded field of opponents. Currently Palm Beach County Commissioners Melissa McKinlay and Priscilla Taylor and engineer Juan Xuna are running for the Democratic nomination. Former state Rep. Carl Domino, St, Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery and Martin County School Board member Rebecca Negron are currently running for the Republican nomination.
There are several other possible candidates, including Florida Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, and St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky on the Democratic side and congressional aide Bill Castle, Florida Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, conservative pundit Noelle Nikpour, Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith and businessman Gary Uber for the Republicans.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN