The Republican who took on Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin and lost this election season is eyeing Maryland's 2014 governor's race as his next political move.
Dan Bongino split the conservative vote 28 to 17 percent with independent Rob Sobhani earlier this month. Bongino said he thinks he could fare better in another statewide campaign.
"We probably have the largest [Republican] fundraising base in the state," Bongino said. "We kept data on every door we knocked on, on every phone call we made. That's data that's easily reusable in a statewide campaign and certainly something we are thinking about."
Bongino admitted to being an unknown when he launched his bid for Maryland's Senate seat in May 2011. Now he's got more than 7,000 donors, 11,000 Facebook followers and a long list of volunteers.
Gov. Martin O'Malley is term limited, and Bongino suspects Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Attorney General Doug Gansler will all vie for the Democratic nomination.
"It's going to be tough race, but it's definitely a winnable race," Bongino said.
So, what's keeping the former secret service agent from officially throwing his hat into the ring?
Bongino said he's not sure he wants to subject himself or his family to the stress of another statewide campaign.
"Maryland is too small a state to fly across, but it's also too big to drive," Bongino said. "I would be in the car six to seven hours a day."
He said being away from home so much these last two years has been tough on his wife and their two young children. Bongino's wife announced she was pregnant with the couple's second child right around the time he announced he was running for office.
He's looking at running for Anne Arundel County Executive as well as a few seats in Maryland's Statehouse—which would require far less travel.
The Severna Park resident said he isn't likely to challenge Rep. Donna Edwards for Maryland's 4th Congressional District.
"It's a seat we would love to take back," Bongino said. "But that's probably not a race that would make the final cut."
Edwards won 75 percent of the vote in a landslide victory against Republican Faith Loudon in 2012.
Bongino plans to make a formal announcement in late January or early February 2013.
His wife, Paula Bongino, may also have an announcement of her own in the new year. Bongino said she's also considering a run for one of the state delegate seats in Maryland's 31st District where the couple resides.
"She's a first-generation Hispanic business owner who is also a Republican," Bongino said. "She has a very compelling story."
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