Maryland 2012 General Election: Senatorial Candidates
Dan Bongino – Republican
The Republican challenger Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service Agent, looks to unseat incumbent Ben Cardin.
Bongino spent four years with the New York Police Department before entering the Secret Service in 1999.
A self-described fiscal and civil conservative, Bongino currently trails Cardin in the polls, according to the Washington Post, and is equal with Independent candidate Rob Sobhani.
Bongino supports tax cuts to the wealthy and cutting spending, whereas Cardin supports increasing taxes and cutting spending.
“Why would a big government, top-down driven, so-called investment, tax and spend plan work to save your business,” Bongino said to WFMD. “When they talk about investment and sharing prosperity, they’re only talking about sharing your prosperity, not theirs. These are your businesses. This is your life.”
Unlike Cardin, Bongino said he would vote to repeal Obamacare if elected.
Bongino’s biggest platform is improving the educational system.
“We must reward good teachers, the bedrock of our educational system, and allow them to work in a system not stifled by bureaucracy,” Bongino said on his campaign website. “I will engage with local leaders and support legislation that helps us to reach our goals.”
Ben Cardin – Democrat
The incumbent Democratic candidate, Ben Cardin, was elected to the Senate in 2006, after serving in the House of Representatives for 20 years.
Cardin chairs the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works committee.
Cardin, a native of Baltimore is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and defeated former Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele in 2006, receiving 54 percent of the vote.
As a senator, Cardin has voted on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided $787 billion in tax cuts and benefits to the middle class, funding for entitlement programs and funding for federal contracts, grants and loans.
Cardin’s stance on health care is also strongly liberal, as he supported the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. If elected for a second term, Cardin said he looks to pass a number of pieces of legislation that he sponsors in the Senate, and will continue to advocate for Obamacare.
“We’ve already seen a slowing down of the growth rate of health care costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” Cardin said at a forum on Oct. 15, according to WFMD. “And millions of Americans are getting rebate checks from their insurance companies today as a result of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.” Cardin also pledged at the forum to make sure pre-existing conditions stay eliminated, which insurance carriers can use to deny coverage.
Rob Sobhani – Independent
Independent candidate Rob Sobhani shook up the polls this election year, still trailing Ben Cardin but jostling with Dan Bongino for second place.
Sobhani, a former professor at Georgetown University, first ran for Senate in 1992, losing to Alan Keyes in the Republican primary. Since then, Sobhani has dropped his party affiliation.
If elected, Sobhani plans to raise money to help build new cancer centers in Maryland, produce more internships for college students, renew Baltimore housing, increase Maryland’s exports and build a second deck of the Baltimore and Washington Beltways.
“If I don’t accomplish these five things in my first year, I’m not interested in running again,” Sobhani said to The Towerlight in an interview in September.
Sobhani has recently faced obstacles the other candidates, as both Bongino and Cardin have refused to debate against Sobhani.
“I think [they don’t want to debate against me] because the other candidates are afraid to debate my campaign,” Sobhani said. “I’m not the loser in that, the people of Maryland are. I have put together a plan that neither political party can come close to, and that is why they want to avoid debating me.”
To date, Sobhani’s campaign has spent close to $4 million, the majority of which came from Sobhani, according to the Baltimore Sun.