She may not have the cache she did as little as six weeks ago, but getting an endorsement from Sarah Palin doesn’t hurt with a certain subgroup of voters. Dan Bongino made news today by being the latest candidate anointed by the “mama grizzly.” In a statement actually dated tomorrow, the Bongino campaign relates this Palin statement:
Though political pundits often dismiss conservative candidates running in deep blue states, I don’t believe in ignoring good candidates simply because they’re fighting uphill battles against the odds. In fact, I find such candidates incredibly brave and especially worthy of encouragement. In many cases, they are often the most articulate and courageous new conservative voices out there.
In 2012, we must cede no ground in our effort to win back control of the Senate and secure the House. We must fight every race to make sure we equip our next President with a wise Congress ready to work for all Americans. We also owe it to voters in every state – even the deep blue ones – to support good candidates for office so that they have a genuine choice in November. That is why I’m honored to announce my support for Dan Bongino in his Senate race in the “deep blue state” of Maryland.
Dan is not a politician, but he has spent his career protecting them. He is a decorated United States Secret Service agent who served under three Presidents. Dan has seen what politicians have done to our country, and he’s decided, “If I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem.” He based his candidacy for U.S. Senate in Maryland on a strong commonsense conservative platform, won his primary, and is now fighting an uphill battle against a 45-year career politician who in fact inherited his first political office from his uncle at the tender age of 23 way back in 1967 and has been in elected office ever since.
This is more than just a race of Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It’s about taking our country back from the career politicians in both parties who have spent us into debt, nearly taxed us to death, enriched themselves, rewarded their cronies at our expense, and have no vision to help the private sector create the jobs we need to get this economy moving again. They are the reason why Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low. In supporting Dan Bongino, we are offering Maryland voters a clear choice either to continue with the failed policies and crony capitalism of the permanent political class, or to shake things up with Dan Bongino and cast a vote that helps put our country back on the path to prosperity.
It’s not completely out of the blue that Palin would endorse Dan – after all, she mentioned him by name at a Ted Cruz rally in Texas last month.
But the connection comes from another direction as well. Marylanders may recall that back in 2010 Palin made a surprising call in the Republican primary for governor, endorsing upstart Brian Murphy over the establishment choice of retread Bob Ehrlich. And while he’s stayed in the background for the most part, Murphy has served as the Chair for Dan Bongino’s campaign.
Obviously there will be those who fret that a Palin endorsement will be the kiss of death for Bongino and they’ll cite as evidence that, even with Palin’s backing, Murphy received just 25% of the GOP primary vote in 2010. But I would argue that without the Palin endorsement Murphy would have picked up no more than 10 percent of the vote because no one had really heard of him and the Maryland GOP certainly wasn’t giving him the time of day.
Furthermore I would venture to say that, in order to have any chance of success, Bongino needs to nationalize his campaign. It pains me to say this, but the Maryland GOP is lightyears away from having the resources to assist in any significant manner on a statewide campaign; meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee will likely write off Maryland, believing the conventional wisdom that the state is a foregone conclusion for Ben Cardin. (Well, they may jump on the bandwagon late in the game if Bongino appears poised for victory, so they can take the credit.)
By securing the Pain endorsement, Bongino reinforces his standing by being placed with other conservatives she has backed over the last two years; her most recent success being the aforementioned Ted Cruz. Now that the slings and arrows of being second banana on the national GOP ticket have been shifted to Paul Ryan, Palin can become a little bit like yesterday’s news – losing the constant scrutiny but retaining the passionate backers who can help an upstart campaign, even if it’s in another state. Remember, no one expected Ted Cruz to win in Texas against a sitting lieutenant governor who had the backing of much of the state’s establishment, either.
Besides, if a Republican is going to stop backing Dan Bongino because he received the endorsement of the conservative darling Sarah Palin, he or she wasn’t much of a Republican to begin with. May your chains placed by “our friend” Ben Cardin and Barack Obama rest lightly.
I don’t know if this was the “something very exciting” that Bill Harris mentioned at the Wicomico GOP headquarters opening, but it is pretty big stuff. Congratulations to Dan for getting the nod.
Update 7:30 p.m. Monday: Bongino also received Senator Jim DeMint’s endorsement.